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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First time poster here.

Here is my story. I was in to mountain biking pretty heavy years ago (in my 20s). Back when there was just something called a mountain bike (no XC, all mountain…)Life happened, kids…and other hobbies left my bike sitting in the garage for years. Fast forward 20yrs and I’ve moved to a new house that just happens to have some really nice trails just out my back gate. I’ve started riding again, and my old 1993 stump jumper M2 with a rock shock mag21 (with about 2” of travel) seems to no longer be anywhere near state of the art. The frame and components on that bike are still very strong and run well, but the old school geometry and limited travel have me wanting something different.

The area I live in is pretty rocky and hilly, so suspension is really needed to smooth things out and since I’m now 40 my body does not take the hits like it once did. I want a new bike that will allow me to ride more aggressive trails without my body taking such a beating.

I really like the idea of the 29er. Mainly because the trails I ride on are full of rocky climbs that often bring me to sudden stop and lunge towards the bars on my current 26” ride.

My initial thought was to get a full suspension 29 xc type bike. I was looking at the Gary Fisher HiFi series or a stumpjumper 29 FSR.

Then a guy at the LBS tried to convince me that a full suspension 29er is a waste and too bulky and that I should go hard tail on a 29er or alternatively go for full suspension 26xc or even a long travel 26er. They had a nice 2008 model Specialized enduro with six inches of plush travel at a decent price and I started thinking that it could be fun with all that suspension to play with. But the 29 hard tails are much cheaper and the wife would not hassle me as much if I spent less $$$ on a new toy. The Trek 69er hard tail also got me thinking that it would be a cool mix. It might also make more sense to just take a small step with the hard tail as I know I will always want one for the climbs around here. Then I go back to how much easier the full suspension would be on the body.

I feel like I’m all over the place with what to get and I’m looking for some advice from those who have been down the road with different types of bikes. I’m going to go rent a few different models from the LBS and give each a try on my local trails, but I know that it is hard to get comfortable on a bike in just a few hours. The feel is often misleading until you get a chance to connect with it and that is another reason why I want some advice from those who have had a lot of seat time.

My budget is 1500-2700. I would like to stay as low as possible, but I’m willing to push it a little higher if the payoff is there. I’m about 6’ 185-195lbs and the L frames seem to work for me, but an M could also work depending on the bike.

Any input is welcome.

Sorry if this is one of those repeat threads. I'm a newb here :)
 

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Felt Nine Race or better yet Felt Nine Elite. The Nine race is aluminum frame silver all XT weighs in AT 27 lbs. The Nine Elite Carbon is 600 bones more, has cheaper but still nice SLX components and weighs 25 lbs. Easily the better choice, and with a few extra bucks later can be made to a 22 pounder. Wasn't impressed with the G2 of the Fischers, nor did I like the Fox 29er fork. Avoid the 69er period. Nuf said.
JB
 

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Bike to have fun.
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Redline D660 Everything you need out of a 29er. Solid Basic setup
Frame: R6 Alloy DB Forged Dropouts-Chainstay Yoke
Fork: Rock Shox Reba SL 100 mm
Headset: Threadless

RD: SRAM X .9
Shifter: SRAM X .9
Crank: Truvative Stylo w Guard 34T
BB Set: ISIS alloy cups 68 x 108mm
Cogs: PG 950 12-32 9 sp
Wheels: WTB Laser Disc 32H
Tire: Maxis Ignitor 29 X 2.1
Bar: Ritchey Riser Pro
Stem: Ritchey Pro
Saddle: WTB Pure V
Brake: Avid BB7 Disc
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies.

I like the price of the redline and will check it out as there is a small shop close by that has them. I have never heard of Felt, but will also check them out as there is a shop in town according to their website.

I guess my question really is related to suspension. Is full suspension worth it on a 29er? I could really use a less harsh ride.

I think they have a RIP niner at the local LBS for rent, so I will check it out. It seems to have rave reviews as a full suspension 29er, but I think it may be out of my price range.
 

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I was just browsing the classifieds a couple of days ago and noticed these (new RIP 9 complete bikes, $2500 shipped):

http://classifieds.mtbr.com/showproduct.php?product=28698&cat=38

No connection with the seller, and I've never even ridden a RIP, but if I were in your shoes it would be VERY high on my list. (I was EXACTLY where you are a couple of years ago, and I'm very happy on my full suspension 29er.)
 

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here's my view on this...............you're not young, your body gets beat up easier, you've worked hard and deserve something comfortable that will encourage you to ride so get the FS. Modern FS bikes in the 3-4" travel range are under 30lbs and definitely the FS makes those bumpy trails fun instead of painful.

With the budge you listed, on the high end you can get a steal of a deal Niner RIP9 complete bike for $2500 - normal retail would be somewhere around $3500-$3700. I'd say this would be a super sweet new bike and you'd be so stoked from the new bike + the 29er wheels and FS that you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner. Check out this link for more info on one guy selling them at this price - oh and I'd jump on it ASAp as they're not going to last long at that deal price. Also give Brett @ Niner a call or e-mail if you miss that deal and he can steer you to other dealers who might have similar deals going.
 

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I have heard a couple of people say that riding a 29er FS bike is a waste of suspension - that you don't need suspension with a 29er. I think that is crazy. If you are the kind of person that would appreciate suspension on a 26" bike, then you will appreciate it on a 29er.

Unless your trails are carpet smooth, a short travel FS bike will be fun and efficient, and will allow you to extend your ride times in comfort. I have owned a couple of FS 29ers and have 2 29er hardtails. Riding a 29er will help to smooth out the trails, but it definitely does not replace suspension action!!

Get the FS 29er. I think you will be happier, ride longer and be more comfortable on an FS. After you get the FS if you decide you want to try a hardtail, then pick up an inexpensive hardtail to play around on.

A HiFi would be a great step into FS - still light and efficient. You should be able to find closeout pricing on an 08.
 

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FS or Not

My personal opinion is it is not worth FS in a 29 format due to the dramatic weight increase over a similar riding 26er. Unless your seriousy bombing downhill and need the rolling advantage. The FS 26er competition for XC is in a hardtail 29er. Yeah you give up some ride quality in order to get simplicity, similar weight product, and the better power transfer of the HT. Also you get a substantially nicer bike and groupo for the money in a 29er HT.
JB
 

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What BS are you spewing forth :???: Seriously, are you related to David Copperfield, Or maybe just DC with a new account??

Dramatic, WTF is dramatic? 1-2lbs :eekster: Wow all that extra weight will just kill you and being able to ride in comfort for hours on end just couldn't make up for that :rolleyes: :madman: Did the OP ever say he wanted to race? NO, he is a recreational rider who has been out of it for 20 years, he is now 40 and is smart enough to know that his body isn't what it once was and is looking for some comfort.

The competition for a 26" wheeled FS bike, is a 29" FS bike. 29" wheels do not equal suspension, no matter how much koolaid you drink.

Go Nine or Get Behind said:
My personal opinion is it is not worth FS in a 29 format due to the dramatic weight increase over a similar riding 26er. Unless your seriousy bombing downhill and need the rolling advantage. The FS 26er competition for XC is in a hardtail 29er. Yeah you give up some ride quality in order to get simplicity, similar weight product, and the better power transfer of the HT. Also you get a substantially nicer bike and groupo for the money in a 29er HT.
JB
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Thanks guys. The RIP 9 deal sounds like it might be the ticket for me. I think FS is probably going to be the best route for me at this point. I could probably get a HT and be happy and even a bit faster, but I think I will be able to tackle more and ride longer with the suspension helping me along. I figured the guy at the LBS just had trouble seeing my perspective. They need to employ some older guys in those places. 25 year olds don't realize you will not feel indestructible forever.

The components on the RIP 9 deal in the classifieds looked pretty good, but the fork kind of made me wonder.
It this fork decent. Fork: Manitou Absolute 29er, 120mm w/ 20mm Hex Axle

I remember Manitou coming out back in my (more indestructible days) with the swappable bumper shocks. They were junk. My rock shock mag 21 still works perfectly today after 18yrs. It is so out of date now with 50mm travel, but the thing was built with some serious last forever quality. I know a lot has changed in 18yrs though. I just don't want to drop 2500 and need to replace the shock in 2 years.

I also ran across this deal on ebay. NINER RIP 9 FULL SUSPENSION MOUNTAIN BIKE Anyone see any red flags there?
 

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I just put that exact fork on my Ventana El Cap a few weeks ago and love it. It's much stiffer than the Reba it replaced, and the platform adjust has a useful range of settings. I also found it very easy to quickly find the right setup for me, one which is supple yet not prone to excessive dive. All in all, a very nice fork, in my opinion.

I know, that doesn't say anything about long term durability. Sorry--but at least the initial build quality is very high.

Re the eBay bike: I would prefer the setup with the Manitou fork with 20mm through-axle, as well as the Flow-rim wheelset.
 

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Go Nine or Get Behind said:
....Avoid the 69er period. Nuf said.
JB
Yup, try 29 HT and 29 FS prolly in Large frame....judging from your general size info....but get a good LBS to fit ya up and then try it....go with what feels best.

sthrnfat said:
I have heard a couple of people say that riding a 29er FS bike is a waste of suspension - that you don't need suspension with a 29er. I think that is crazy. If you are the kind of person that would appreciate suspension on a 26" bike, then you will appreciate it on a 29er.

Unless your trails are carpet smooth, a short travel FS bike will be fun and efficient, and will allow you to extend your ride times in comfort. I have owned a couple of FS 29ers and have 2 29er hardtails. Riding a 29er will help to smooth out the trails, but it definitely does not replace suspension action!!

Get the FS 29er. I think you will be happier, ride longer and be more comfortable on an FS. After you get the FS if you decide you want to try a hardtail, then pick up an inexpensive hardtail to play around on.

A HiFi would be a great step into FS - still light and efficient. You should be able to find closeout pricing on an 08.
Agreed! I like Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 29er personally....haven't ridden the GF FS.
 

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I am exactly 3 years down the road from where you are. 3 years ago I was 40 and getting back in the saddle after 15+ years of no riding. I couldn’t bear the 2k+ entry price and at that time there where very few soft tail options. I bought a new GF X-Cal (middle of the road hard tail) for about 1200 bucks and rode it a ton. I read everything in here and learned all the lingo and parts over time. Then once I was broken into the idea of spending more, I bought an Intense Spider29 frame as soon as it was out. I stripped my GF and rode a ton more. Over time I upgraded everything on the bike and put them back on the GF. At that point I had the perfect bike for me and a spare for (my wife or) a buddy to ride.
I can’t see any reason in the world to buy a 26” wheel bike unless you freeride or downhill. You will also be wanting a rack to haul your bike to different trailheads, some gear – camelback, tools, clothes, etc… If you come right out the gate dropping 2k+ on the bike, you will either go way over budget, or be short on some vital stuff.
Here are a few things I would look for.
There are deal to be found on ebay and craigslist. New is nice but after a week of riding it - it’s used.
The Gary Fisher 29ers from 2006 on - are great bikes and can be had for less than a grand The soft tails are breakable but I doubt you will out ride them right away.
If you can find a bike with the Fox F29 fork you have a better fork than the Reba.
Wheels – I am your age and exactly your size and weight. I tacoed my stock GF wheels after about 3 months of riding. If you can find a bike with a better set of wheels you will be happier. Or get a bike with screwed up or crappy wheels and have a good set built. There are a ton good threads in here about wheels.
Beyond the bike stuff – Almost as important as the bike.
Camelback – with room for stuff. Water bottles on the bike make for muddy water and dirt on your lips. Tools in a saddle bag makes for lost stuff.
With the right stuff in the outer compartments of the camelback you will be more self sufficient and be better off when you have a bad day. 29er tube, Crankbrothers multi tool, tube repair kit, extra derailleur hanger, chain master link, small pump, band aids, bailing wire and a little bit of duct tape.
(there is at least 100 bucks worth of stuff)
Clipless pedals and good shoes. I prefer crank brothers Mallet pedals and whatever shoes fit well.
(100 bucks for the pedals and 50 – 100 for the shoes)
Good locking bike rack. – this is the slickest one I have seen -http://www.softride.com/rack-products/specifications/versa_rack
– I have a thule T2 and I like it but it weights as much as a boat anchor.
(200 – 300+ bucks)
Full finger gloves, skate style helmet, elbow pads, cycling shorts, lightweight long pants. Like the cargo pants make of parachute material. Even on the hottest days I wear these – one layer of clothe has helped me keep my skin many times. I wear the cycle shorts under the cargo pants. Padding in the shorts helps in the saddle and on those butt landings, pants protect the lower leg and knee. If I get crapped up I can take the pants off to drive home without dirtying the seat or baring my backside. As for the helmet – and the elbow pads – If you don’t come off the bike every few rides for the first few years you are not pushing yourself very hard.
(there is another 100+ bucks)
Learning aids – There are a few really good books written on mountain biking. You can figure out everything on your own the hard way or spend a few bucks and some time reading and learn ten times faster and get hurt a lot less. Look up Ryan Leech, he is a world class trials rider and has a couple awesome DVD’s on trials riding tips and techniques. I spent a lot of time working on my track-stand in the garage in the winter months and using these tricks will make you a much better rider much faster.
(50 bucks)
So I can add up about $600 bucks worth of stuff that I wouldn’t part with above and beyond the bike itself. We haven’t even talked about a bike for your spouse or partner. If they are able bodied this is a great way to have fun together. I don’t ever take my wife on trails she can’t handle, but just riding together is a great way to spend time. If you drop 2k on one bike, that may have to wait.
On that same train of thought, If you can get two bikes sooner than later you will have a spare bike to invite a friend along. I would rather ride a cheaper bike with a friend (on my other cheaper bike) than ride alone all the time one my bling bike.
If I were in your shoes I would look at the G.F. X-Caliber or the Stump Jumper Comp 29er both just shy of 2k new. And spend the rest on all the gear listed above. When you take your wife on a ride put her on the new bike! This will accelerate the upgrade because she will like it and support the collection. Ride for a least one or two seasons and then pop for a real nice custom built full suspension bike.
We should take a ride together if you are close – (Bellingham WA)
Speeder
 
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