Looking to upgrade an old 26” hardtail mtb. I was originally budgeting around $1000 but willing to spend a little more if I see value in doing so. I was originally looking at Trek X Calibur 8, Giant Fathom 2 and Specialized Rockhopper Pro but now I am also considering the Kona Honzo and Santa Cruz Chameleon which are definitely stretching my budget. I am hoping someone can point me in the right direction and let me know where I can get the best value for my money as well as personal experience. I will only spend about 10% is of my riding on single track due to proximity to trails (got to love flat IL) and a young family leaving the other 90% to crushed limestone paths, etc but that can be fun too on the right bike. Thank you for your input in advance.
Sounds like a gravel grinder would better suit you. If your not sure what those are like, look them up. Think mountain bike frame with skinny tires made for mixed surfaces. Grass, gravel, road, and dirt. Some even ride them on single track if it’s not too tech filled. Will most likely eat up the crushed limestone as well. Just an idea to throw at ya, pedal on!
Interesting thought on the gravel bike. It would definitely fit the bill for the 90% of my riding. The single track I get into is pretty technical with rocks, roots, sand and mud so that would be my main concern. I suppose I could consider a gravel bike and keeping my 26 for single track for now. Or get an extra set of tires could make either bike more versatile..
I like all your choices. Just a suggestion- don’t go too far past whatever budget you’re comfy with. No matter what you buy, you are going to upgrade components, even on a Santa Cruz. It gets pricey quick. I got the xcal for all the same reasons as you. Really happy with the choice. Good luck!
Been kicking around building a new bike on a budget but then I saw the Vitus Sentier +. It isn’t perfect but it’s pretty good. At $850 I am going to have to carefully consider how/if I build. Needs to be better or cheaper.
For the question at hand, plus-ish tires are probably not great for gravel grinding but you could get 29’er wheels with some faster narrow tires.