Opinions Welcome: Upgrade or keep saving?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Opinions Welcome: Upgrade or keep saving?

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Plusbike Nerd 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #246541

    I’ve got a hardtail 2013 Stumpjumper 29er. Over the last 5 years I’ve been replacing and upgrading components to make it more of a trail bike. 27mm internal width rims, 2.35″ wide tires (any wider rubs the rear triangle), dropper post, 1x, shorter stem, wider bars, etc. The fork is about the only stock piece on the bike at this point. The air tube has been swapped to change the travel from 90mm to 110mm.

    The fork is a RS Reba solo air. It’s been OK but it’s never really been as good as I want it to be. My question is should I upgrade to something like a Fox 34 (120mm travel) or just keep saving up for a FS rig in a year or 2 from now? I live in the midwest so FS isn’t really required but would be nice for some of the rougher trails. I’m totally fine with riding a HT, just not sure if spending $800+ on a fork makes sense when I’m trying to save up for a FS rig. If I do go with the fork upgrade it would probably delay my “need” for a FS bike a little longer.

  • #246542

    My 2 cents: Save your money and put it toward buying what you want when you’re ready.  I’m in a very similar situation.   As much as I love my XC rig (I’ve upgraded just about everything as well) I realize that it has limitations – or at least I do with it – just based on geometry.  Plus, I’d like to have another bike available with capabilities/geometry that extend beyond my XC rig for riding more aggressive trails.  The $800 you don’t spend on a new fork can easily cover a third of the cost of a solid FS rig.

  • #246546

    No matter what you have, youll want to upgrade it. It never stops. But hey, at least its not crack.

  • #246580

    New frame is an interesting idea . . . Main reason for not doing a new frame would be that I’m thinking I want 27.5″ tires on FS setup despite the current trends.

  • #246597

    I think it could be a good upgrade if you find a deal on a used Fox 34.

    I bought a 2013 Stumpjumper HT last spring while I was between bikes.  The Stumpjumper was my primary bike for a few months and I really enjoyed it.  My Reba was set to 110 mm of travel and I also thought about upgrading to a Fox 34.  In hindsight it was mostly upgraditis.

    I am now riding a 2009 Pivot Mach 429 which I upgraded to a Fox 34 with 120mm of travel.  I have ridden this bike all along the Front Range of Colorado and have been fortunate to take it on a couple of extended mountain biking trips  – Crested Butte, Fruita, Gooseberry Mesa, Santa Cruz, Lake Tahoe and Park City.  The Mach 429 has been great for the type of riding I enjoy and the Fox 34 was an awesome upgrade for this bike.

    Looking back, it would have been nice to have a Fox 34 on the Stumpjumper but I don’t think it would have made an $800 difference on that bike.

    If I was in your situation I would spend up to $400 on a used Fox 34 and then save for full suspension frame – it sounds like you already have pretty good components.  If you like the HT Stumpjumper but are starting to reach its limits, then you would probably love a full suspension 29er with 100 to 120mm of rear travel.

  • #246601

    Given what you’re considering probably worth reading this article:

    https://www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-gear/considering-upgrading-to-a-longer-mtb-fork-read-this-first/

  • #246602

    Save your money.  Your bike is at the point where you are better off just maintaining what you have and put the money you would spend otherwise in a piggy bank.   A lot has changed since 2013, including Boost spacing, so save your money on any upgrades you might do otherwise, put that towards a new bike, and sell your old bike when you’re ready.

    I’m also in the midwest and been riding the same bike since 2011 (Lenz Sport Leviathan), also with a Reba (RLT Ti 120 and 20mm thru-axle).  There’s nothing wrong with the Reba, especially on a Stumpjumper of that age.

  • #246613

    Thanks everyone for your insight.  Lots of great advice and intetesting to see that a few of you have been in the same predicament I am currently in.

    At this point I think I’m going to see if I can find a good deal on a Fox 34, non-boost of course.  Checked with LBS and 120mm fork is acceptable for my frame.

    Kind of funny how you get attached to a bike over time.  It probably doesn’t make the most sense to spend the $ it’ll cost for the fork upgrade, but I’m just not ready to put the old HT ou to pasture just yet.

    I think my back can hold out for a few more years before I really have to more strongly consider a full squish for regular trail riding  : )

  • #247025

    Update for anyone still following this discussion.  I was able to find a last year’s model (2018) Fox Factory Float 34 with 120 mm travel that wasn’t boost for about $700 (with 2-day shipping).  Had it on and ready to ride just in time to get a full day of riding in on Sunday.

    Holy crap, what a difference!!!  All the other upgrades and changes I’ve made on the bike finally made sense once I got this new fork.  Felt almost like riding a completely different bike after learning I can put a lot more trust in my front tire now that it doesn’t bounce off of everything.  And it soaked every jump and drop I threw at it without ever bottoming out hard.  Most the time when I checked the o-ring it was at 100mm of travel or less.

    By the end the ride I found that instead of finessing my way around chunkier sections (as I thought you were supposed to do on a HT) I was lining up and attacking every bit of the chunky stuff I could find, especially the descents and through corners.  Basically I was taking all of the lines that I was going ride someday . . . when I could afford that tricked out new FS ride.  No need to wait anymore.

    Maybe part of the perceived difference in the overall ride experience is just in my head.  In that case the new fork gave me the confidence to push a little harder and trust in the equipment under me.  Or maybe my riding was pushing the limits of the Reba’s capabilities and a little more performance was the next step that needed to be taken.  Either way I can’t wait to get out and on more single track so that’s means the upgrade was money well spent.

  • #247071

    Awesome update. Over the winter I plan to upgrade my hardtail as well. Good to see that it pays off.

  • #247129

    If you have a strong back and don’t ride where it’s rocky and rooty full suspension is less important. With my old back and the rocky trails of Arizona it’s a must. The new geometry (lower riding position) of my Turner Flux is helping me descent faster than ever at 65 years! But if you want to travel west the full suspension is helpful in these Rocky Mountains.

  • #247171

    Go for the new bike. Get something like the 2019 Stumpjumper which I consider a typical modern trailbike. With modern geometry, 2.6in wide tires, 1×12 drivetrain, and 5.5+ inches of full suspension, you won’t believe how good bikes are compared to 5 years ago. Mountain bikes evolve so quickly and nearly always for the better. I buy a bike and ride the heck out of it for 3-5 years until it is worn out and I make no upgrades except neccessary repairs. I save that money to buy the next generation even better bike. Don’t waste your money on upgrades.

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