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Moving to SW Virginia from NZ - what kind of bike is best suited to the area?

2106 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  blammo585
Hi folks, per the tile I'm moving to SW Virginia early next year from NZ where I've been absolutely lucky to have some incredible riding. I'm currently on a 2020 Commencal Meta AM 29 and I absolutely love it, but I'm a little concerned its not quite the right bike for the terrain in the area and/or the type of riding available. I'm also not the fittest or strongest climber so if there are long or technical climbs then perhaps the Meta AM might cause me a bit of trouble.

Initially I'm looking for some broader brush stroke suggestions on what you would suggest for the area, like trail, All Mountain, Enduro etc, but if you can suggest some specific models then I'll also gladly take that advice on board.

Thanks in advance!
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Southwest Virginia is good riding. I don’t live in Virginia, but I’ve ridden in SW Virginia many times. Be prepared for rocky, hilly terrain. As far as bike type, it depends on your taste. I ride a shorter travel bike, but I do a lot of climbing (no shuttles). However, plenty of people are riding 150s/160s.
Here’s what I wrote in your other thread:

You can ride everything in Roanoke and Blacksburg at full speed on 120mm or less, provided you’re confident in hitting 3-4ft drops on that kind of bike. Plenty of LLS “trail” bikes that fit the bill.

Only a couple of unsanctioned trails where I’d want a bigger bike. But you’d need a person to show you, or give you a GPS file, to find them.

Hoewever, if you’re in Harrisonburg, there’s more big bike terrain up there. Not a gigantic amount but some.

Just keep in mind that, in many cases, there are no FS roads to pedal up.

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May just be random chance where I happened to ride the two times I rode SW Virginia while traveling (Carvin's Cove one day and then a few days with a friend in George Washington NF) but I would agree with Pisgah that neither place would make me want more than a 120 or so trail bike. Normally I would err on the side of more travel but both places had some long, sustained, grindy kinda otherwise boring climbs that would be more of a chore on a big bike.

Though I will readily admit I don't know the area all that well and it may just be where I rode and the rest of the area isn't like that.
Grew up in VA and started mountain biking on a rigid 26er "back in the day." So I'm just a grumpy old man now. But in my opinion, there is nothing in Virginia that you can't ride on a "trail" bike. I am currently on a 130/140 full squish, and with the exception of downhill parks, I'm usually perfectly content if not over-biked. (If you don't mind taking a little beating and you're not a terribly aggressive rider, you can ride most of this state on a hardtail.) I have no idea what your riding is like in NZ, but I would feel over-biked on a Commencal Meta AM 29 here. SW VA will be a lot of rocks and hills, up and down. Smooths out the further east you go toward the water.
I live near Danville, VA, and from what I've read it's some of the best trails around. I will echo what the others have said, though. I've never ridden Roanoke, but judging from the others' comments, it sounds a lot like Danville. In which case, a "trail" bike would be just fine. I've ridden Danville and parts of North Carolina on a 120-ish bike and it's been fine. In Danville there's steady climbs, and occasionally you'll get a flowy downhill, but for me the downhills don't last long enough.

With that said, I'm actually thinking of maybe getting an Enduro bike with 170/160 to ride. I haven't made up my mind. But I feel like I'm done with climbing any way. I just want something I can take to Bryce Resort in Virginia or Beech Mountain in North Carolina. I'm smack dab in the middle of both, 3.5 hours from each.
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