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Might have seen in my other thread that I've been rolling on used dept store bikes i've gotten from thrift stores for years now. Ive recently started reading up on what ACTUAL mountain bikes have to offer and I had some questions about some things I've encountered quite frequently.

1. What does it mean exactly when I see a descriptor that a bike has "aggressive geometry". I know it's referring to things like the angle of the fork(although that's about all i know). But what makes it "aggressive"? What effect does that have when it comes to riding? For example, I've read up on the Sync'R(for just one ex, but it's not alone in this) and it apparently has an aggressive geometry that may not be the best for beginners but it also was described as handling very well. The former seems to suggest that bikes with so called "aggressive geometry" can be difficult to ride/master/control/etc., however the latter suggests the opposite, that it handles great.

So what gives? What should I make out of such descriptions?

2. What is the benefit of the 1x10+ gear-trains? Is it simply to make things more convenient, give you one less thing on your handle bars to worry about, simply shifting, provide for one less thing that could potentially break when you nose dive into some rocks? Of course it takes some weight off as well, which is good. Is that it though?

I know from my experiences, which again are riding total junkers, all my derailleur issues were with the rear, never the front. Maybe I'm a special case, but it seemed odd to me that this was such a huge, new(to me at least) status quo of the mountain bike world. And when I'm out riding, I never really had a need to mess with the front anyways. I always kept that at its lowest, never a need otherwise, never was i left thinking, "man i wish i didnt have to worry about shifting BOTH rear AND front!".

You DO lose some speed correct? Not a big deal since mountain biking involves climbs and downhills, but sometimes it is fun to just go nuts on a regular road as youre heading towards a trail or leaving your loser kids in the dust. What makes the benefits outweight this shortfall?

3. I've read tapered front/head tube, i believe it gets called, mentioned quite extensively. What exactly is this referring to? Folks often make it out to be a MUST. FOrgive me if i jacked up the terminology there, hopefully folks can recognize what i'm talking agbout.

4. What makes tubeless tires so great?

Does it not just make you one step closer to a flat? If I have regular tube/tires installed and I get a tear or hole in my tire, but my tube is untouched, I'm still golden. If I got tubeless tires installed and I get a hole/tear, I'm done.

Tire protects the tube. There's no "safety net" if I have JUST a tire, at least to my absurdly limited understanding.

So what's the deal? Are tubeless tires also just far thicker/more durable than tires that utilize tubes?5

5. What is the deal with seats? Almost every nice, legit mountain bike i see has this absurdly tiny, mere sliver of a saddle on it. These damn things look like medieval torture devices. How do folks actually use these? Even with some well cushioned bike shorts, they seem painful.

ANd on that note, this prob will greatly depend on a case by case basis, but does anyone know if generally a seat that fits a dept store bike could also be installed on some higher end, more legitimate quality brand/model?

The trash mongoose im riding right now came with this AMAZING super soft cushion of a seat, has its own suspension even, little springs in back. Thing is one of the most comfortable things ive ever sat on, whether it's bike/couch/chair/bed/ANYTHING. It's INCREDIBLE! Believe it's made by Bell. SO just curious if anyone knew whether quality mountain bikes have different sized seat posts that likely would/wouldnt permit the same seats from a cheapo dept store bike.
 

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Might have seen in my other thread that I've been rolling on used dept store bikes i've gotten from thrift stores for years now. Ive recently started reading up on what ACTUAL mountain bikes have to offer and I had some questions about some things I've encountered quite frequently.

1. What does it mean exactly when I see a descriptor that a bike has "aggressive geometry". I know it's referring to things like the angle of the fork(although that's about all i know). But what makes it "aggressive"? What effect does that have when it comes to riding? For example, I've read up on the Sync'R(for just one ex, but it's not alone in this) and it apparently has an aggressive geometry that may not be the best for beginners but it also was described as handling very well. The former seems to suggest that bikes with so called "aggressive geometry" can be difficult to ride/master/control/etc., however the latter suggests the opposite, that it handles great.

So what gives? What should I make out of such descriptions?

2. What is the benefit of the 1x10+ gear-trains? Is it simply to make things more convenient, give you one less thing on your handle bars to worry about, simply shifting, provide for one less thing that could potentially break when you nose dive into some rocks? Of course it takes some weight off as well, which is good. Is that it though?

I know from my experiences, which again are riding total junkers, all my derailleur issues were with the rear, never the front. Maybe I'm a special case, but it seemed odd to me that this was such a huge, new(to me at least) status quo of the mountain bike world. And when I'm out riding, I never really had a need to mess with the front anyways. I always kept that at its lowest, never a need otherwise, never was i left thinking, "man i wish i didnt have to worry about shifting BOTH rear AND front!".

You DO lose some speed correct? Not a big deal since mountain biking involves climbs and downhills, but sometimes it is fun to just go nuts on a regular road as youre heading towards a trail or leaving your loser kids in the dust. What makes the benefits outweight this shortfall?

3. I've read tapered front/head tube, i believe it gets called, mentioned quite extensively. What exactly is this referring to? Folks often make it out to be a MUST. FOrgive me if i jacked up the terminology there, hopefully folks can recognize what i'm talking agbout.

4. What makes tubeless tires so great?

Does it not just make you one step closer to a flat? If I have regular tube/tires installed and I get a tear or hole in my tire, but my tube is untouched, I'm still golden. If I got tubeless tires installed and I get a hole/tear, I'm done.

Tire protects the tube. There's no "safety net" if I have JUST a tire, at least to my absurdly limited understanding.

So what's the deal? Are tubeless tires also just far thicker/more durable than tires that utilize tubes?5

5. What is the deal with seats? Almost every nice, legit mountain bike i see has this absurdly tiny, mere sliver of a saddle on it. These damn things look like medieval torture devices. How do folks actually use these? Even with some well cushioned bike shorts, they seem painful.

ANd on that note, this prob will greatly depend on a case by case basis, but does anyone know if generally a seat that fits a dept store bike could also be installed on some higher end, more legitimate quality brand/model?

The trash mongoose im riding right now came with this AMAZING super soft cushion of a seat, has its own suspension even, little springs in back. Thing is one of the most comfortable things ive ever sat on, whether it's bike/couch/chair/bed/ANYTHING. It's INCREDIBLE! Believe it's made by Bell. SO just curious if anyone knew whether quality mountain bikes have different sized seat posts that likely would/wouldnt permit the same seats from a cheapo dept store bike.
1) aggressive geometry is something of a marketing term. Bike geometry has changed to suit more aggressive downhill riding at speed with added stability. Previous geometry was capable but is easier with aggressive geometry. It may, however, be a detriment if you ride fast on cross country type of conditions -flatter. More corning options. Climbing, but not a lot of climbing. And not too much fast technical downhill conditions. Today's bikes are very capable in multiple conditions compared to years past where bikes were a bit more suited to the type of riding a person does. That is still true but those lines are a bit more blurred than they were.

2) 1x system. Depends who you are. Most say it's a more simplistic system. I have 1x12 and 2x10 bikes. Both are nice and I have no preference. My front derailleur doesn't require any additional maintenance that is worthy of ditching it. A 1x10 will have a lesser range, maybe you can't get a low enough gear to ride the super steep stuff in your area. If you don't ride (or have) steep hills, that's not a concern of yours. I wouldn't suggest one drivetrain over another if somebody asked me which they should get. I prefer a 2x a lot of times because I can just drop the front ring and have a huge difference in gear at a moments notice. With a 1x it requires more gear changes. Still doable and fine, but dropping to a small ring is faster.

3) head tube. It means the bottom bearing of the head tube has a larger bearing than the top. Most bikes now are that way. A larger bearing is better than a smaller bearing. The bottom bearing of the headset takes more abuse, therefore the larger bearing is nicer to have.

4) tubeless. First, the tire does not protect the tube so don't think that way. A thorn goes through the tire and into the tube. Probably get a flat. If you are low on air and hit a root or rock or harsh bit of trail, the tire will compress and possibly pinch the tube against the rim and put two small hole in the tube (pinch flat) and probably end up with flat. You should carry a spare tube to replace your damaged tube (or patch it).
One would use a sealant in a tubeless tire. You run over thorns and put a hole in tire. Sealant will seal the hole. You can run the tire pressure low and when the tire compresses, i cannot pinch a tube because there isn't one. You should carry a tube in the event you get a flat. Flat scenarios could be -you haven't added sealant lately, all drive up and cannot plug hole. You hit a big rock and cut a tire. Install tube to finish ride.
A con to tubeless if you will have to check/add sealant every few months or so depending on climate. Maybe 2-3 months in summer if it is hot and dry where you live. Maybe 6 months if you're lucky (can be done). Tires will weep more than with a tube, may need to check/add air more often with tubeless than with tubes, given your tubes don't have thorns poking them. ;)

5) Smaller seats are usually more comfortable, contrary to their narrow appearance. A seat needs only to match your sit bone dimensions. If a person is bigger, a larger seat may be ideal. A super soft and fluffy seat can actually be more uncomfortable. As you sit on the seat, you sink into it. The material that becomes displaced has to go someplace. Usually forced against your body and can cause nerve stimulation and numbing. If you notice the seats with a groove/channel, that is to not apply pressure when you sit down, as you sink into the seat the relief in the seat gives the rider relief from nerves and numbing.
One would need to try different seats to find one that suits their body geometry.
 

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Might have seen in my other thread that I've been rolling on used dept store bikes i've gotten from thrift stores for years now. Ive recently started reading up on what ACTUAL mountain bikes have to offer and I had some questions about some things I've encountered quite frequently.

1. What does it mean exactly when I see a descriptor that a bike has "aggressive geometry". I know it's referring to things like the angle of the fork(although that's about all i know). But what makes it "aggressive"? What effect does that have when it comes to riding? For example, I've read up on the Sync'R(for just one ex, but it's not alone in this) and it apparently has an aggressive geometry that may not be the best for beginners but it also was described as handling very well. The former seems to suggest that bikes with so called "aggressive geometry" can be difficult to ride/master/control/etc., however the latter suggests the opposite, that it handles great.

So what gives? What should I make out of such descriptions?

2. What is the benefit of the 1x10+ gear-trains? Is it simply to make things more convenient, give you one less thing on your handle bars to worry about, simply shifting, provide for one less thing that could potentially break when you nose dive into some rocks? Of course it takes some weight off as well, which is good. Is that it though?

I know from my experiences, which again are riding total junkers, all my derailleur issues were with the rear, never the front. Maybe I'm a special case, but it seemed odd to me that this was such a huge, new(to me at least) status quo of the mountain bike world. And when I'm out riding, I never really had a need to mess with the front anyways. I always kept that at its lowest, never a need otherwise, never was i left thinking, "man i wish i didnt have to worry about shifting BOTH rear AND front!".

You DO lose some speed correct? Not a big deal since mountain biking involves climbs and downhills, but sometimes it is fun to just go nuts on a regular road as youre heading towards a trail or leaving your loser kids in the dust. What makes the benefits outweight this shortfall?

3. I've read tapered front/head tube, i believe it gets called, mentioned quite extensively. What exactly is this referring to? Folks often make it out to be a MUST. FOrgive me if i jacked up the terminology there, hopefully folks can recognize what i'm talking agbout.

4. What makes tubeless tires so great?

Does it not just make you one step closer to a flat? If I have regular tube/tires installed and I get a tear or hole in my tire, but my tube is untouched, I'm still golden. If I got tubeless tires installed and I get a hole/tear, I'm done.

Tire protects the tube. There's no "safety net" if I have JUST a tire, at least to my absurdly limited understanding.

So what's the deal? Are tubeless tires also just far thicker/more durable than tires that utilize tubes?5

5. What is the deal with seats? Almost every nice, legit mountain bike i see has this absurdly tiny, mere sliver of a saddle on it. These damn things look like medieval torture devices. How do folks actually use these? Even with some well cushioned bike shorts, they seem painful.

ANd on that note, this prob will greatly depend on a case by case basis, but does anyone know if generally a seat that fits a dept store bike could also be installed on some higher end, more legitimate quality brand/model?

The trash mongoose im riding right now came with this AMAZING super soft cushion of a seat, has its own suspension even, little springs in back. Thing is one of the most comfortable things ive ever sat on, whether it's bike/couch/chair/bed/ANYTHING. It's INCREDIBLE! Believe it's made by Bell. SO just curious if anyone knew whether quality mountain bikes have different sized seat posts that likely would/wouldnt permit the same seats from a cheapo dept store bike.
I commented on your other posts regarding climbing but will weigh in here too to add to forest riders input.

1. There are 2 types of aggressive. A XC racing bike would be considered to have aggressive geometry as it is designed to be as fast as possible in the turning and sprinting categories without a huge detriment to its ability to smash a technical down hill. A cyclocross bike would have similar geometry. However for the average mountain biker an aggressive geometry is having a slacker head tube angle which gives stability when the trail turns to steep down and a steeper seat angle so you can ride the bike back up the hills without too much discomfort. It is all a balance between a huge variety of relationships between angles, wheelbase, chainstay lengths, front center length, fork offsets, etc.

The more slack the bikes head tube is the better it can be a descending but it will be less nimble in tight technical trails however that can be mitigated by shortening the chainstays and wheelbase some. Which takes us to #2

2. the general reason bike manufacturers have trended towards the 1x is to shorten chainstays. Previously with 2 or 3 gears in the front the chainstay would have to wiggle around those gears, adding in suspension linkages and then fatter tires means something was going have to move from their. With suspension and fat tires being desired the removal of the front derailleur allows the tire to be closer to the seat tube, the seat tube to be bent or even removed to make the suspension move, the removal of all but one chainring allows the spacing of the chainstays at the bottom bracket to spread out allowing fatter tires and allowing the tire to tuck into the bottom bracket as tight as possible. This allows shortening up the chainstays and with a slacker headtube you end up with a bike having a similar wheelbase as a front derailleured bike with longer chainstays but a steeper headtube. Performance wise the slacker headtube bike will be better at steep descending and but still nimble which helps drive the trend towards slacker bikes.

3. stiffer fork = better control. Larger bottom bearing = stiffer fork.

4. Tires and tubes are 2 materials that rub against each other and create friction. Friction generated by this rubbing absorbs some of the energy you put into your bicycle when you pedal and turns it into heat. This is predominately from deformation between the tire and the ground, be it small rocks or larger logs. Either way some of this loss can be noticed making the bike feel sluggish. The thickness prevents the tire from deforming to obstacles as well as a thinner material so you feel impacts more and you have less traction because the tire lifts more off the ground as it deforms less.

When you convert to tubeless you are removing the tube and putting a single layer of more compliant material between you and the ground. This allows your tire to be more compliant and deform more easily, removes the friction between tire and tube, and generally loses some mass (which rotation mass is by far one of the better masses to remove in a bike as its impact is substantial, vs. static frame or component mass).

As a benefit it is harder to get a pinch flat, which allows you to run lower pressures, which make your tires more effective at getting traction, which will make your bike more predictable in trail conditions, better at railing corners, better at finding traction on tough ascents, and giving it a much more compliance to the tiny trail chatter that suspensions often are not great at filtering out. The other bonus as noted below is that the tubeless tire is usually filled with a sealant which helps seal punctures from thorns, etc giving you much longer intervals between flats. You can still get flats but they will be more infrequent, if at all. The negative is that the lower pressure does allow you the opportunity to smash your rim into trail obstacles, potentially bending parts of the rim but then that is something you can do with tubes to.

5. A soft seat feels great for awhile, you can ride maybe a couple of hours and it will be great, however it the larger and softer surface will touch your skin in many locations, as you sweat this saddle will cause chaffing and sore spots. Repeated frequent rides will increase your chances of these sore spots and once you run your rides out into multi hour or even partial day length rides it can really begin to hinder you.

As you experience grows you will spend less time on your saddle and your sit bones will build up tolerance to a harder narrower saddle and the benefit as noted below is that a narrow saddle doesn't conflict with you as you are maneuvering around on your bike as you guide it through trails. You don't need a hyper thin road bike saddle on your bike and my go to on bikes is the WTB Speed saddle, which is wider and softer but not so big it hinders. It also can be had for quite cheap if you look for them.

The other thing to note about saddles is that they are high on your bike and so a heavy one, like the one you have, will have a negative impact on your bike's center of gravity, which while small is still something to consider.
 

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Might have seen in my other thread that I've been rolling on used dept store bikes i've gotten from thrift stores for years now. Ive recently started reading up on what ACTUAL mountain bikes have to offer and I had some questions about some things I've encountered quite frequently.

1. What does it mean exactly when I see a descriptor that a bike has "aggressive geometry". I know it's referring to things like the angle of the fork(although that's about all i know). But what makes it "aggressive"? What effect does that have when it comes to riding? For example, I've read up on the Sync'R(for just one ex, but it's not alone in this) and it apparently has an aggressive geometry that may not be the best for beginners but it also was described as handling very well. The former seems to suggest that bikes with so called "aggressive geometry" can be difficult to ride/master/control/etc., however the latter suggests the opposite, that it handles great.

So what gives? What should I make out of such descriptions?
You're right about one thing. The term aggressive is vague. Some manufacturers have used it in isolation where it can essentially mean anything, and you've gotta know a little bit about bikes to decide whether you like the bike or not, ignoring the use of the word, "aggressive." Other times, it will be used as a qualifier like "aggressive cross country" where the marketing language is referring to the fact that this is a cross country bike meant to be raced by a skilled and fit rider. This would be as opposed to something like "casual cross country" where racing is not the goal. The marketing language can take awhile to wrap your head around.

2. What is the benefit of the 1x10+ gear-trains? Is it simply to make things more convenient, give you one less thing on your handle bars to worry about, simply shifting, provide for one less thing that could potentially break when you nose dive into some rocks? Of course it takes some weight off as well, which is good. Is that it though?

I know from my experiences, which again are riding total junkers, all my derailleur issues were with the rear, never the front. Maybe I'm a special case, but it seemed odd to me that this was such a huge, new(to me at least) status quo of the mountain bike world. And when I'm out riding, I never really had a need to mess with the front anyways. I always kept that at its lowest, never a need otherwise, never was i left thinking, "man i wish i didnt have to worry about shifting BOTH rear AND front!".

You DO lose some speed correct? Not a big deal since mountain biking involves climbs and downhills, but sometimes it is fun to just go nuts on a regular road as youre heading towards a trail or leaving your loser kids in the dust. What makes the benefits outweight this shortfall?
There are a number of factors involved with the transition to single chainring drivetrains. Sure, there's some simplicity of controls involved. My wife, for example, despite riding for 14yrs, still doesn't really use multiple-chainring drivetrains very well. Her road/gravel bike still has 2 chainrings. Her 2 mountain bikes both have 1 chainring, and for her, they're both more intuitive. It probably matters that she really didn't bother with shifting the chainrings when she was a kid. Never really "got it" when her brain was more flexible. She lived in flat states growing up and never had to really change the front until she started mountain biking with me as an adult.

But I'd say that the most likely reason the front derailleur has faded is because of the proliferation of handlebar controls. There was a period of time where it was common to have shifters on both sides, brake levers on both sides, handlebar controls for both front and rear shock, as well as a handlebar control for a dropper post. There's a lot going on there! Switch to a single chainring and you eliminate one control so you can simplify your cockpit some. I'd say the dropper post is the biggest contributor to this, since it seems that the shifter-style dropper post lever is the most popular/preferred style.

3. I've read tapered front/head tube, i believe it gets called, mentioned quite extensively. What exactly is this referring to? Folks often make it out to be a MUST. FOrgive me if i jacked up the terminology there, hopefully folks can recognize what i'm talking agbout.
You know that the head tube of the frame is what the steering column of a bike passes through, right? A number of years ago, bike manufacturers decided that they preferred that steering column to be 1.5" in diameter at its base where it attaches to the crown of the fork and 1 1/8" where the stem clamps to it. For many years, 1 1/8" straight was the standard. And over the years, some manufacturers played with 1 1/4" straight steerer tubes, 1.5" straight steerer tubes, and some other proprietary stuff for bikes where the manufacturer wanted to add strength and stiffness up front. They eventually settled on tapered steerer tubes. Either the head tube of the frame itself needs to be tapered, or it needs to be a straight 44mm diameter that can accommodate external bearings on the bottom and internal ones at the top in order to fit a fork with a tapered steerer.

Why does this matter? The reason is because the industry adopted tapered steerer tube forks so intensely that it's now difficult to buy a quality fork with a straight 1 1/8" steerer tube. If your frame has an old style head tube that will ONLY fit a 1 1/8" steerer tube (or a cheap bike with such), your selection of suspension forks is limited if you need or want to replace what you have.

4. What makes tubeless tires so great?

Does it not just make you one step closer to a flat? If I have regular tube/tires installed and I get a tear or hole in my tire, but my tube is untouched, I'm still golden. If I got tubeless tires installed and I get a hole/tear, I'm done.

Tire protects the tube. There's no "safety net" if I have JUST a tire, at least to my absurdly limited understanding.

So what's the deal? Are tubeless tires also just far thicker/more durable than tires that utilize tubes?5
Tubeless tires for bicycles don't work that way. While there IS a type of tubeless technology that does work this way (UST), the current most common application involves sealant as the critical component to seal punctures. This tubeless tire tech was really driven by people who ride where goatheads (Tribulus terrestris) are common. They are little seeds from a plant that's invasive that likes to grow along trails and roadsides, and those little seeds will puncture ANYTHING. Also desert riders who deal with cactus spines, and anyone else who has dealt with excessively frequent punctures from anything stout enough to puncture a tire, tube, and old puncture resistant tire liners (I had a honey locust thorn do this once. thought the damn thing was a nail).

A proper modern tubeless system that's well-maintained (the sealant does dry out eventually) can be extremely reliable. Some repairs can be done for holes larger than sealant can repair without removing the tire (plugs, for example). These systems do work best with tires and rims designed to be used this way. You can occasionally make other combinations work this way, but getting them set up can be a real bear and they sometimes still don't work that well. So while tubes still work, and if you don't have flat problems, you might continue to use them anyway, tubeless can help if you ride in a place where frequent punctures can be a real problem.

5. What is the deal with seats? Almost every nice, legit mountain bike i see has this absurdly tiny, mere sliver of a saddle on it. These damn things look like medieval torture devices. How do folks actually use these? Even with some well cushioned bike shorts, they seem painful.

ANd on that note, this prob will greatly depend on a case by case basis, but does anyone know if generally a seat that fits a dept store bike could also be installed on some higher end, more legitimate quality brand/model?

The trash mongoose im riding right now came with this AMAZING super soft cushion of a seat, has its own suspension even, little springs in back. Thing is one of the most comfortable things ive ever sat on, whether it's bike/couch/chair/bed/ANYTHING. It's INCREDIBLE! Believe it's made by Bell. SO just curious if anyone knew whether quality mountain bikes have different sized seat posts that likely would/wouldnt permit the same seats from a cheapo dept store bike.
If you're actually mountain biking, you don't plant all your weight on the seat. Ever. At least, you shouldn't. That's what comfort bikes are for. For a mountain bike, you want your weight primarily focused on your feet, with a notable amount of standing up. This helps keep you in control over rough terrain. Plant all your weight on the seat and ride over rough terrain, and your bike will continually try to throw you. Further, when riding a mountain bike over varied terrain, you need to move your body a lot to stay in control and put your center-of-gravity where you need it. A big, cushy seat is going to get in your way.
 

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1. “Aggressive” is partially marketing mumbo jumbo. It indicates that a bike is designed to be capable of being ridden hard by a skilled rider, not for grandma to bimble down a bridle path with a flower basket. I don’t know what the opposite of that is, but if you look at entry-level bikes, the geometry difference are more conservative and make the bike more comfortable and upright - more like a beach cruiser or comfort hybrid bike. A “non-aggressive” like that is more likely to be unstable at speed and while being ridden fast and over rough terrain, but comfy for someone who lacks the fitness and handling skills that come with time.

2. The benefit of a 3x or 2x drivetrain is that you have more fine-tuned gear ratios to choose from. This is important to some riders who are good at maintaining a specific cadence (rhythm you pedal, like a metronome) but most people find that you can get enough of a range for the terrain by just using a rear cassette that has a huge range, cadence be damned. You lose some of the top-end gear you would get with a bigger ring, but most people apparently don’t miss it. Most people only found that bigger gear useful on roads or tame XC race terrain, which is why you still see some 2x and 3x systems on bikes used for ultra-endurance stuff like the Tour Divide. No front derailer means one less thing to worry about tuning (FDs are notoriously more finicky than rear shifting for most mechanics, myself included), no big ring to bash on rocks, and one less control on the handlebar. Many people are using dropper posts now, and the release lever for the dropper post fits nicely on the left side of the bar where the front shifter used to be.
3. Tapered fork means the fork uses conventional “1-⅛ inch” top interface for the fork/ stem, but the bottom of the steerer tube where the fork crown meets the frame is 1-½”. It uses a bigger bearing and makes for a stouter interface where the frame and fork meet and take a lot of impacts. Most people probably won’t notice the difference. Most forks and frames these days are made for this and it’s used on road and mountain bikes alike.

4. Tubeless tires- better performance with fewer flats. With tubes, it’s easy to pinch the tube between the rim and the ground, but almost impossible with tubeless (although I have done it). To avoid pinch flats on tubes, you have to run the tire pressure high enough to hold the tire up under impacts, but you can run much lower pressure with a tubeless tire for increased traction. Tubeless sealant seals up most small punctures and if you get a big puncture that overwhelms the sealant, you can plug it, reinflate, and keep riding without taking the tire off. If all else fails, you can put a tube in a tubeless tire. I got flats ALL THE TIME with tubes but it’s extremely rare since I went tubeless.

5. Saddles- when you sit on a mountain bike, you don’t sit upright like you would on a chair. That’s why we call it a “saddle” and not a “seat.” bikes designed for “comfort” like beach cruisers have big, fat, soft seats because you sit upright on a bike like this, more on your butt like a chair than in a leaned-forward “saddle” position. The saddle has to be just wide enough to support your “sit bones” when your pelvis is tilted forward in a riding position. If it is wider than that, the saddle will just chafe your thighs. The thin or nonexistent padding is because the saddle needs to support your butt, not let it sink in. a saddle that is too squishy will cause more problems in the long run and your butt sinks into it and increased pressure on the soft issue around (and between!) your pelvic “sit bones.” it’s possible for a saddle to be too narrow depending on your anatomy, which is why a few different sizes and shapes exist, but the anatomical range of widths for the human body is surprisingly narrow.
Your squishy saddle is probably comfortable for short distances on a bike with a low-slung, upright sitting position. Anyone on a modern mountain bike that fits them correctly for the application would be in AGONY after a few miles if they stuck that couch cushion chair on their bike.
 

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This thread is bookmark-worthy, so I won’t add anything directly. Except that the amount of slack needed is dictated by terrain. And mixed terrain is likely served by a less slack HTA, maybe in the 68-69 degree range.

What is your terrain? It sounds like you want to do a lot of trail and road, so a bike that is considered cross country/trail, then. What is your budget?

I vote Karate Monkey (Surly) either fully rigid, or with suspension fork and dropper. The fully rigid is cheaper, and you can still add Suspension and dropper later. You might also decide on different gearing later, too. Uh, I might be biased. :D
 

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Based on OP's other thread, he is throwing money away on cheap junk. The hard truth you need to accept is that bikes are not cheap. Hard, cold fact: a good bike that is going to hold up and work well costs at least $500 new. I would double that of you are actually serious about riding it hard. For reference, people who know bikes and ride them to the limits drop $4-6k on a single bike. You don't have to do that, but it depends on your expectations and standards. If that seems astromical to you, get a better job, accept that you'll not get the most fun possible, or find a different hobby. Sorry, I am not good at sugar-coating these things, and getting a kick in the pants like that is what inspired me to get a better job.
 

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Since you're thinking about the different components on bikes, sign up for email alerts for the shops in your area or follow them on social. When they list a demo day-- go. Try all the bikes. You'll experience different everything, forks, shocks, brakes, drivetrain and droppers with seats. You'll get a feel for what you may like in the future. Geo and bike travel too.
And it's free.
 

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XC iconoclast
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4. Tubeless tires- better performance with fewer flats. With tubes, it's easy to pinch the tube between the rim and the ground, but almost impossible with tubeless (although I have done it). To avoid pinch flats on tubes, you have to run the tire pressure high enough to hold the tire up under impacts, but you can run much lower pressure with a tubeless tire for increased traction. Tubeless sealant seals up most small punctures and if you get a big puncture that overwhelms the sealant, you can plug it, reinflate, and keep riding without taking the tire off. If all else fails, you can put a tube in a tubeless tire. I got flats ALL THE TIME with tubes but it's extremely rare since I went tubeless.
Very good reply Mack. However, the beginners reading this thread should not be scared off about mountain bike tubes. The key thing is sealant at this level of biking, not necessarily whether the bike is tubeless or tubed. I got flats all the time too before I started using tubes with sealant. Almost every bike under $800 doesn't have tubeless ready wheels, and unless they have the bike shop do it for them, it's going to be very frustrating for them to try making a cheap bike with cheap wheels tubeless 'just because everyone else is doing it'. Most tubes can have sealant added to the tube via the valve if they don't want to buy something like Slime tubes.

You can run pretty low pressures too with tubes but the 2nd key thing is the width of the tire. All too often, someone who has biked for 10-20 years types something like "I used to use tubes, had to run high pressures, and then I went tubeless and can now run low pressures". You really need to understand the entire context of their before and after experience. Before = 26 x 1.95 tires or something equivalent, tire pressure usually 30-40 psi with tubes. Tubeless was not popular then. After = new bike, wider wheel rims and tire clearance, probably 29 x 2.3 or wider, both tires and wheels are tubeless ready, tire pressure can now go to around 20 psi. But they changed about 1/2 dozen variables between both bikes. If you keep everything else the same, a 26 x 1.95 tire tubeless is going to ride almost as bad as with a tube; relatively speaking they both suck on a trail. Tubeless will not make a skinny 26" tire perform as well as a modern tire with a tube, that is a key point that you should understand. The qualities of the tire itself are by far the most important thing. The tire pressure for that small of a tire is for sure going to need to be way over 20 psi anyway tubeless or not.

Conversely, with today's wider tires, if you put a tube with sealant in, you can lower the pressure to about the same psi as tubeless and still avoid flats for the most part. I have a 27.5 x 2.6 at 20 psi, and a 26 x 2.8 at 16 psi. And no flats with tubes, because they have sealant. Tubeless is really a preference, just like a 1x drivetrain, or full suspension, or 29" vs. 27.5" or a 2.3 tire vs. a 2.8 tire, etc. With a tubeless tire the feel of the trail will be better, but performance may or may not be any better than the same tire with a tube. Don't worry too much about tubeless at this level of biking, you can have plenty of fun with tires that have tubes, just make sure they have sealant (there are many threads in the Tires and Wheels forum on how to add sealant via Presta valves).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Based on OP's other thread, he is throwing money away on cheap junk. The hard truth you need to accept is that bikes are not cheap. Hard, cold fact: a good bike that is going to hold up and work well costs at least $500 new. I would double that of you are actually serious about riding it hard. For reference, people who know bikes and ride them to the limits drop $4-6k on a single bike. You don't have to do that, but it depends on your expectations and standards. If that seems astromical to you, get a better job, accept that you'll not get the most fun possible, or find a different hobby. Sorry, I am not good at sugar-coating these things, and getting a kick in the pants like that is what inspired me to get a better job.
haha most folks who mountain bike arent blowing 4-6 grand on a bike or taking out second mortgages or going back to college to become lawyers or some **** in order to afford the hobby. I think most are spending 4 figures for sure, but 1-2500 or 3 grand range is more common i reckon.

I know full well quality ones START above 500, with some rare exceptions. I realize they are NOT cheap, that's why Ive been riding junk like i have been. haha if it didn't cost much to do it legit, of course I would have already upgraded proper. C'mon guy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the input. Def cleared up the "aggressive" thing, sounds like it's mainly just abunch of nonsense, marketing mumbo jumbo as pointed out.

So the head tube deal is important cuz it makes the bike more durable with the larger bearing at the more crucial point, and it enables you to upgrade or replace parts easier if need be since it's the standard. That pretty much sums it up?

Tires make sense now too. I never had an issue with pinching so i wasnt thinkin about that, although i am familiar with it. I always check/pump my tires before every ride, so ive never encountered an issue with pinching.

Still think I'll always stick with the sweet cushion seat though. I ride for even 30 min on any other seat ive been on and my nether region and posterior is hurtin for a week, no exaggeration. Think I got a weak taint or something I guess. I could sit an entire day on my current one without any discomfort, or chafing of any sort.
 

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haha most folks who mountain bike arent blowing 4-6 grand on a bike or taking out second mortgages or going back to college to become lawyers or some **** in order to afford the hobby. I think most are spending 4 figures for sure, but 1-2500 or 3 grand range is more common i reckon.

I know full well quality ones START above 500, with some rare exceptions. I realize they are NOT cheap, that's why Ive been riding junk like i have been. haha if it didn't cost much to do it legit, of course I would have already upgraded proper. C'mon guy.
Actually our riding crew all have 4 figure bikes. Weve joked that when at friends house theres 25k+ in bikes lieing out in the yard. On the trails the regulars we know many have similar bikes.
BUT you dont have to spend that much to enjoy riding, i started on far less. Question of priorities, i spend on bikes, not a whole lot elsewhere.
But a dept store bike is not going to cut it. You could get away with it a little while, but youve mentioned theyre always breaking on you. Spend for a decent bike and it will last and serve well, i have a 25+ year old bike that i still ride, although pretty much just street for that one now.
Tire issue when you get into serious off road, you want to lower air pressure to get more cushion and grip from contact patch. But too low and you will get pinch flats when you hit some sharp edge object and the tire and tube bottoms out against rim. Too hifh pressure and youll get bounced and jarred by rocks and roots. Tubeless you can get away with lower pressure. And ive never seen an instance where tire gets damaged and tube is intact. I take that back, friend had one case where knob tore and exposed a leak in tire carcas, if there was a tube it likely would not have gone flat. Other than that though, anything that cut or punctured tire did same to tube.
 

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OP

Here's some real-world info, opinion and a few comments, no particular order and nothing other than some experience related input;

DO consider a $550 or 700 dollar bike. The stuff out there these days is phenomenal considering dollars spent and value . Even at or especially at entry level bikes.
I say this coming from my first mtb purchase 30 years ago and about $350. YES , You deserve a nice bike and YES You are worthy of one. The fact that I don't know you should tell you how important of a factor that is. Simply put, your own ability and performance will step up to better match the riders you get out with and the level of bike you are on. HINT- That's all good stuff.

Seats- My experience is the more comfortable-looking must be avoided at all opportunity. It's weird and counter intuitive but most of the skinny things with a teeny cush work best although not everyone on exactly the same saddle. There are nuances and you just have to find your own path.
*I'll be getting a dropper one of these days. Proven to myself it'll be useful and avoid hazards of catching my shorts or bucking myself off the bike. I don't ride aggressive or fast or big stuff often but still noteworthy of getting that damn saddle out of the way as needed.

1X drive- Simple and works well, some compromise to gear range but works well over most situations. My 1x11 was fine for most but I went front ring change 32 to 30 for climbs and lost a teeny bit of the big speed top end though I rarely want to be traveling that fast anyways. The 2 and 3x setup sound like a lot more range but the reality is many of those gears tend to be so close together (ratio or gear inches) that the true benefits to a 20 ,27 or ? are misleading or over-sold. Still, these older tech ideas still out there are the descent bikes being dumped for great prices and can be changed to a 1x or whatever pretty easy at a later time.

Tubeless - Had a buddy convert me over awhile back and it was fine. I was a holdout because the benefits I'd read didn't really fit my situations much. Same tubes in tires for years without incident or maybe a patch or leak every few years. No pinch flats that I recall. My Schwalbe were not really the tubless kind but we did it anyways. I think they are a thin soft tire that isn't ideal but they held up fine for about a year. At first issue, I went back to tubes. Just my pref and experience.
Others responding have made very good points and descriptive considerations regarding your questions. The terrain and how we ride can be differing so filter it all by what speaks most to your concerns and take if from there.
 

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Go ride whatever you can (make sure it’s safe) as much as you can. Meet other riders and ride with them. Get to know your local bike shop and do demo days and try different levels of bikes. Read stuff but don’t go too crazy. Just ride and experience stuff. It’ll all start to make sense.
 

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Go test ride some bikes in your price range. You’ve got enough general information. Just ride.
 

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haha most folks who mountain bike arent blowing 4-6 grand on a bike or taking out second mortgages or going back to college to become lawyers or some **** in order to afford the hobby. I think most are spending 4 figures for sure, but 1-2500 or 3 grand range is more common i reckon.

C'mon guy.
My weekly group ride is 50-75 strong and 3/4 of them are on bikes that probably cost over $4k, and they are one one of the 5-6 bikes they own like that. However, I live in a affluent area full of tech folks, so that's pocket change to many of them. Could be a regional thing. I can't justify that kind of spending!

if you ride hard and ride a lot, you'll learn that bikes that are fun and durable cost a lot. But you're right, you don't have to spend that much. There are a lot of solid bikes that are just over a grand. I doubt my bike would cost over $2k to rebuild and it's not holding me back in any way. The $30 garage sale specials, on the other hand, might be holding you back.
 
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