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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. Little background on me... life long mechanic, built BMX bikes and swap parts as a kid through my early 20's, built cars and mostly motorcycles. Have recent built and upgraded a Fixed gear bike, still have a BMX bike and love two wheels. I am looking at taking advantage of the scenery in Phoenix and getting into trail riding, dirt jumping and downhill.

That being said, I would like to buy an older used bike and upgrade or rebuild the components as I go. Im 5'5" so a small or medium should be cool. Price range is negotiable and I am not afraid to get my hands dirty. I'm also not afraid to tear a bike completely apart and I am confident enough in my wrenching ability to get it back together and riding right.

So here comes the questions:
1. What is a good used platform for trail, dirt jumping and downhill?
2. What is a good older bike to get that I can upgrade?

Thank you in advance!!
 

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I would post this in a more appropriate subforum, or at least change the thread title to be more specific. You will get more attention that way.

Also, there's a ton more traffic for this kind of riding on PinkBike.

i know that's not helpful, but it's all I got for now.
 

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Cycologist
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Do some poking around and you'll find a post similar to yours pops up once or twice a week, at least.

"Price range is negotiable" - but you're not negotiating with us, what is your limit? $500 26er ok? $2500 29er? Everyone wants the best bike and to pay the least amount of money, but obviously these are pretty much heading in opposite directions. Poke around and you'll find advise on buying and old bike and upgrading/rebuilding - you'll often spend more even if you do your own work if you're doing serious upgrades. BTW, bikes use a lot of specialized tools so you have to factor that in as well. Bikes have changed a lot over the last 10 years; if you buy something too cheap and old, upgrades will be limited.

"Platform for trail, dirt jumping and downhill" - not really what I do but dirt jumping - hardtail; downhill - lots of travel full suspension. Again, everyone wants one bike that does it all. Kind of like wanting a car that handles/looks like a Ferrari, seats a family of 7, can be used to haul a boat and has a bed for hauling manure and costs like a Ford Fiesta (do they still make those?) What type of trails do you have nearby?
 

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Watch out on the sizing too - be very picky because you're sort of on the cusp with sizing. At 5'5" I'm thinking you'll ultimately go with a Small depending on manufacturer and legs/torso length.

I'm just a hair under 5'8" with short legs/long torso and am comfortable on a Medium but it feels marginal on some bikes. It's all personal preference but I hate the feeling of being perched on a bike rather than "in it" so to speak.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Chaz, I'm in Phoenix. With some looking around, we have everything from pump tracks to supposedly double diamonds within a few hour drive.

Eb, that was a good video! I wish I could do half that!

Clayncedar that's another issue I'm seeing. Coming from BMX I'm used to compact riding and I know this is gonna take some getting used to which is why I'm wanting a bike that can do what I've done on BMX but with my age and body condition I am going to need some suspension.

I did find a used V10 locally for $900. Not too far out of my range but far enough to make me seek some guidance before I blow a grand on a set up.
 

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at 5'5", you will want a small frame. I am 5'9" and I used to ride a lot of 16" "small" frames until I got smart and started riding mediums. good advice here. a bike that handles smooth pump tracks and dirt jump trails and a true downhill bike are pretty different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I was reading around and found a Rockshox Monarch XX with a remote lock out for rear. Would that benefit me going on different terrain?

I am starting to find more bikes in smaller frame (also with smaller wheels) for cheaper.

How nard is a rear disc brake conversion? I am thinking the front suspension will either be rebuilt or sold, dual wall rims, tubeless, lock out rear shock, beefier crank set, upgraded pedals and the bars pulled in to the steering bolt more... 🤔
 

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How nard is a rear disc brake conversion?
It's really nard.

If the frame doesn't already have the disc brake option (place to bolt on the caliber), forget it. If it does, it's just a matter of bolting one on. And then your wheel has to be disc brake compatible or you'll need a new wheel. If it is a decent bike made within the last 10 years or even more, it should take a disc brake.
 

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I was reading around and found a Rockshox Monarch XX with a remote lock out for rear. Would that benefit me going on different terrain?

How nard is a rear disc brake conversion?

I am not sure why you're looking at shocks already when you don't even have the bike. any full-suspension bike should come with a decent shock. you're putting the cart before the horse here. focus on getting a platform that works for you and in a few years you can start worrying up upgraded shocks.

as was just said, any decent bike made in the past 10 years should work with disc brakes. unless you have a vintage frame that you just love to ride, trying to convert it to disc is not worth the hassle.
 

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Cycologist
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If you're thinking you can buy a downhill type bike and then lockout the rear shock and have a dirt jump hardtail, it doesn't work that way. Besides the different geometry, pretty sure you'd quickly destroy the shock and possibly the rear triangle landing dirt jumps with it locked out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If you're thinking you can buy a downhill type bike and then lockout the rear shock and have a dirt jump hardtail, it doesn't work that way. Besides the different geometry, pretty sure you'd quickly destroy the shock and possibly the rear triangle landing dirt jumps with it locked out.
Yeah that's what I was curious about. What is the lock out for then? Like riding to trails locked and then unlocking it for the fun part?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I am not sure why you're looking at shocks already when you don't even have the bike. any full-suspension bike should come with a decent shock. you're putting the cart before the horse here. focus on getting a platform that works for you and in a few years you can start worrying up upgraded shocks.

as was just said, any decent bike made in the past 10 years should work with disc brakes. unless you have a vintage frame that you just love to ride, trying to convert it to disc is not worth the hassle.
I was curious if what my options are at this point. I found an older V10 that looks to be set up but if I can't adapt to it or it to me then I need to keep looking. I've also found a few K2 Pro-Flex in good shape but no disc set up and a carbon fiber swing arm. But I'd prefer discs over rim brakes. I am more looking for what I can grow into rather than something for just now seeing as this will be my last bike purchase for awhile. Upgrades I can work with, rebuilding components aren't hard. (Somebody has something about these needing special tools. I can't imagine them costing more than what I have in my top drawer of my tool box now. And motorcycle builds from frame, motor builds, transmissions and so on isn't Legos regardless of what has been seen on the Discovery channel.)
 

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Lockouts are pretty useless IME.
I've had them on my bike for decades and use them maybe a couple times a year if I have to do a long ride on the road, which is something I avoid like the plague on my MTBs anyway. Never used one on an actual trail (except when you sneak over to your buddy's bike and lock his out without telling him).

When you say 'downhill' do you mean actually going to a mountain with chairlifts/doing truck shuttles on steep and challenging trails on a regular basis? Or just riding down whatever you climbed up as part of a trail ride?

When you say 'dirt jump', are you thinking actual BMX style DJs/skatepark riding, or just catching some air on the trail if the opportunity presents itself?

Depending on your answers, you can either get away with one bike for everything, or you might need three distinct bikes. FWIW, don't buy that V10 unless you're planning on a spending a ton of time riding chairlifts exclusively with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I won't say I'll never ride a lift run, but I'm sure if I get to that level, I'll have upgraded platforms by then. There is a trailhead about 3.5 miles from my house for the Phoenix Mountain Reserve which is on the other side of Dreamy Draw Park. So there is a lot of variety there. South mountain has some hairy trails but neither of these have any groomed trails or built jumps. I imagine I'll be riding those two for awhile until I'm comfortable then stepping up to the jumps behind Papago Park. They are built (from what I remember) with some gaps and high take offs. I used to be able to get some serious air time on a BMX bike there. Also there is some other advance trails up in Sedona (few hour drive) that has some decent drops and hairy trails.
 

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To my mind, an actual DH bike becomes appropriate when you're getting to the top via ski lift or, on some trail networks, pickup truck. I'd expect it to still be a bit much for a lot of shuttleable trails outside of ski resorts. If that was the right bike for you, you'd probably already know it. It sounds to me like once you've got your bike, you'll be exploring MTB some.

To my eye, the V10's a downhill bike. I think it's not really what you're looking for. Looks like slapheadmofo's already telling you not to buy it.

I've never been to Papago Park. Are the jumps built on a hill side, with some elevation lost from top to bottom? Or is it a flat layout?

Just as a rough guide, from what you're saying, I think you're looking for a full suspension bike with 140 to 170 mm of travel. That's going to encompass some older "all mountain" bikes, all newer ones, and many newer "trail" bikes.

Typically bikes marketed as "trail" involve a set of compromises that climbs better and handles better at low speed in general while "all mountain" bikes are generally squishier and handle kind of funny on the way up but offer better stability on the way down.

All mountain bikes are frequently ridden up a service road. Trail bikes should be more capable and fun climbing on singletrack. You could still ride up a road, of course, but given a choice, I prefer to spend as much of my ride on singletrack even if they maybe costs me a descent vs. riding up a faster but less interesting way. (Actually I don't think it costs me a descent. I don't think the extra miles and greater handling challenge slow me down all that much more than gaining a bunch of elevation does in the first place.)

I agree that you should be looking at "small" and 16" bikes. Too big a bike can make it hard to have a good riding position, especially on descents and if you're pumping.
 

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I won't say I'll never ride a lift run, but I'm sure if I get to that level, I'll have upgraded platforms by then. There is a trailhead about 3.5 miles from my house for the Phoenix Mountain Reserve which is on the other side of Dreamy Draw Park. So there is a lot of variety there. South mountain has some hairy trails but neither of these have any groomed trails or built jumps. I imagine I'll be riding those two for awhile until I'm comfortable then stepping up to the jumps behind Papago Park. They are built (from what I remember) with some gaps and high take offs. I used to be able to get some serious air time on a BMX bike there. Also there is some other advance trails up in Sedona (few hour drive) that has some decent drops and hairy trails.
Okay, it seems, as Andrew recommended, a longish travel trail bike would be your best bet. Actual dedicated DJ or DH bikes (like a V10) are much more niche pieces of equipment that really only shine in very specific conditions.

Too bad this is a large
https://phoenix.craigslist.org/nph/bik/5935134378.html

These could be fun
https://phoenix.craigslist.org/wvl/bik/5880775151.html
https://phoenix.craigslist.org/wvl/bik/5929639927.html
https://phoenix.craigslist.org/nph/bik/5919838931.html
https://phoenix.craigslist.org/cph/bik/5934378622.html
https://phoenix.craigslist.org/wvl/bik/5907186886.html

etc, etc....(I kinda like that Transition myself)

I'm sure some people will tell you that "you have to have X wheel size and Y rim width and Z geometry or else you'll hardly be able to ride your bike" but I wouldn't get too hung up on getting the 'latest and greatest' wheelsizes or marketing buzzwords all in a first bike, nor would I worry too much about long-term upgradability. Save all that (and some $$) for the next bike when you have a much better idea what you actually want out of it.
 

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^^That Covert looks pretty legit. Its a dropper post away from being a fun gun that you can pretty much ride anywhere. You can still pedal uphill and it has enough travel to still be fun at a bike park. Its got a SRAM Type 2 rear derailleur so it'll take a 42T cassette if you want to go 1x later on.

The V10 is a pretty gnarly ride. Unless you plan on using gravity as your main way of getting down the hill...it won't be much fun to ride anywhere else. I can't imagine riding that thing around a pump track.
 
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