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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just moved to DC, bought a Kona Dew Deluxe to start commuting. I love it, it's a great urban bike, it's perfect for screwing around town, beer runs, light off-road, etc. Until I bought the Dew I hadn't owned a bike since I hurt my back and had to sell my Cannondale HT way back in 2000 (the fat Aluminum was unbearable) I mountain biked at least 4 times a week for 5 years, went cold turkey, now I'm jonesing again. I'm missing the singletrack and I want a new mountain bike. I'm leaning full suspension, but really don't want to shell out $1k (my budget)for a third tier frame, with crappy specs, and too much weight.I just can't rationalize spending $1700-$2500 buying what I would like right now. I was pretty spoiled by my tricked out 21lb Cannondale back in the day and don't want to settle for less.

The 29er craze took off right off after I quit riding, I'm not familiar with them, I haven't even seen one at my LBS to try out. I was thinking from what I've seen online I could get a good steel framed HT 29er for around a grand that I can upgrade over time. I love the forgiveness of steel, and would imagine that the larger wheels would be more comfortable when it comes to trail chatter. I'm not sure I want to go SS, but I am very intrigued with the 1X9 set up, I've seen online. I never used the granny gear on my 'dale anyway.

So would this be something to consider or should I just stick to saving up for a FS? I don't have the room or budget for more than 2 bikes and want a good all around MtB to hit the trails. Another concern, is my ridiculously short inseam (31") on a 6'!" 170 lbs frame. Will the larger wheels make it impossible for me to find a hardtail that fits? I know I need to testride first, but some advice would be great.
 

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A lot of options really. A nice steel frame that has clearance for a large rear tire is the way to go. I'd vote for a Salsa El Mariachi. Get a Reba fork at 100mm, some wheels built with Stans Flows and run some Rampages and you should get all the comfort that you need. Or even a production aluminum frame with big tires will get the job done. A Cane Creek Thudbuster post can be used if a little cush is needed.
G
 

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Welcome back to riding!
On a budget, you could try a (not cheap) suspension seat post on a hardtail. It's not the same, but it should do the trick for your back.
 

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to take what Cloxxki said a bit further - short term - look at a Thudbuster, than save $$ for a quality frame - something like a Salsa Dos Niner soft tail or good full suspension model. I've only ridden in the DC area once (Wakefield/Lake Accotink) and a FS/softtail will work well in that terrain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Softtail might not be a bad idea. I haven't checked out any of the DC area trails. I hear there are some good ones. I imagine they aren't too different from the ones I frequented in GA. NC and WV aren't more than a half days drive. I just need a nice upgrade worthy do-it all frame..
 

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Don't worry about your short inseam - makes no real difference. Many 29ers now have drastically sloping top tubes with extra clearance. I'm also 6' tall but with a 32.5-33" inseam; not that much longer. I ride a large Niner hardtail without problems.

I'd mirror the comments above and suggest a nice steel hardtail. Niner MCR is nice I've heard, as long as the top tube fits you. Keep in mind most 29er geometry uses a longer top tube than in the past - try to test ride if possible. Otherwise calculate your previous cockpit (top tube plus stem), subtract the top tube of your dream 29er and you've got the stem length necessary.
 

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Paulitik said:
Softtail might not be a bad idea. I haven't checked out any of the DC area trails. I hear there are some good ones. I imagine they aren't too different from the ones I frequented in GA. NC and WV aren't more than a half days drive. I just need a nice upgrade worthy do-it all frame..
Fountainhead was closed the day I wanted to ride it - but the few other disappointed riders I met in the parking lot said it was a great trail system.

If you've got some free time, head up to Plum Grove Cyclery in Leesburg (I think, google them, their website has the address). They've got some nice, higher end bikes in the shop, to include a size L Turner Sultan. They're in on the 29er scene and should have a few models you can sit on, talk with the shop guys, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the info!


The Salsa's looking very appealing. Not a bad set-up for the price. Not sure if there is a LBS that carries one. A couple of months of getting back in shape on my Dew Deluxe and I'll be ready to go!
 

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i live in md and work in dc. i know the maryland trails pretty well. pm me or ask on the md/va/dc board for more info.
there is a shop in frederick md that has a few vassago bandersnatch's for demo rides. if you are unfamiliar with the bandersnatch, its a steel 29er. the have it built up as a hardtail. the shop is a bit of a hike from dc, but it might be worth the drive. i have only been there a handful of times, but the guys who work there all seem pretty knowledgeable and cool. www.thebicycleescape.com i have been told that some of the trails in frederick can be pretty brutal. very rocky and lots of climbing. about 20 minutes down the road from frederick is schaeffer farms. its about 12 miles of trails covering a variety of terrain.
 
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