Good frame for a big boy?

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    • #69326

      Looking for a new/used full suspension frame. I am 5’10” and weigh about 225 LBS. I need some help in regards to which frame might be good for me and where the best place to buy is. I don’t need a top of the line frame, just a good solid frame to get me on the trails. I’m safely in the nid-range range! Thanks i advance!

    • #69327

      Hey, welcome to Singletracks!

      For a guy with your weight, looking at a full-suspension bike, I’d suggest first that you stick to coil forks and coil shocks. I’ll get to frames in a minute…..

      The cool thing about coils is that you can swap out springs if’n you want it stiffer or more plush, once you get one for your weight-range. Shock/fork manufacturers can provide you with information on what spring to buy, based on your weight, bike, & riding style.

      Also, in coil forks, you can fiddle with the oil levels and weights…. A heavier oil will provide more compression damping (and slower rebound), whereas a lightweight oil will give you less damping and a higher rebound. Most coil-only forks have at least a air-preload, so if you need a heavy oil, you can up the air-preload to keep a higher rebound rate. Oil runs from between 5w-15w.

      Then again, there are coil/air forks, which consist of a coil spring on one fork leg, and an air spring on the other.
      These forks give you a much larger range of adjustment capabilities, but also generally cost a lot more.
      The same goes for dual-chambered coil/air shocks. However, in rear coil/air shocks, the air chamber is for pedaling platform and rebound adjustments. Preload is adjusted on the coil retainer. Coil-only shocks usually only have preload and rebound adjustments.
      However, with your weight, you’d most likely need a pedalling-platform shock because your mass will influence the suspension’s movement while pedaling much more than say, myself @ 160lbs.

      Which brings me to frames. 😀

      I have no idea about what kind of riding you do, which would influence my advice a lot on what sort of frame to get. But since you need something to get you on the trails, and aren’t looking for a high-zoot frame…. I’ll keep that in mind.
      Because you’re a Clydesdale ( 😎 ); you’ll need a suspension design that doesn’t react much to pedaling forces; one that is sturdy; and one that doesn’t weigh a ton.

      So: I suggest you get either a VPP (virtual-pivot-point) or a Horst-link bike.
      Single-pivots {Gary Fisher Cake} & four-bar {Kona Dawg} are really sturdy bikes, but they tend to rely heavily on pedalling-platform shocks. This is not an issue with us lightweights, but it’s very hard for a platform shock to overcome a lot of mass. Plus, these designs also exhibit brake-jacking {the brakes top-out the suspension}. Not a terrible shortcoming, but again, because your brakes have to work harder, your mass is working against you.

      But with VPP & Horst-linkage bikes, the suspension is fairly unaffected by braking, and they are very resistant to pedal-induced bobbing.
      But wait! 😉 VPP bikes, rely on chain tension to keep the suspension from bobbing… This means that under heavy pedaling forces, your suspension will lock out, making it a virtual hard-tail. This is not always a bad thing, which is why the SantaCruz bikes climb like rockets.
      Horst-linkage bikes are well-nigh immune to brake jack and pedal bob. Unfortunately, they can be rather flimsy and prone to breakage, because a critical pivot on them is located on the chainstay. A LOT of force is transmitted through this area under hard pedaling and impacts. This does not mean that Horst-linkage bikes are made like matchsticks. There are quite a few designs out there that can take a massive drop with no problems…. Those bikes tend to be really heavy and expensive.

      Anyways, enough of theory and babble….. Here’s my short-list of bikes you should look into…. Top of the list are my most recommended for you, then further down are bikes also worth looking into. I tried finding bikes between the $1800-2400 range.

      Click the links to go to the manufacturer’s webpage.

      [u:1iq6g0jf]VPP or DW-link[/u:1iq6g0jf]
      Iron Horse


      Gary Fisher

    • #69328

      Thanks for you thorough response bombadier!

      I will check those out.

      If I just need the frame, can I order directly from the company?

    • #69329

      Well, there is a IRON HORSE SGS 2000 frame for sale for $300. It is a down hill frame and I certainly want more of a freeride bike for singletrack, technical climbing stuff. Obviously, I’ll get to go downhill at some point 😃

      Anyway, any input on whether this would be a good purchase for me?

      Price is good, looks like it will hold my weight…Just a little bit of a newbie when it comes to full-suspension and don’t want to get stcuk with a great downhill bike that won’t climb!


    • #69330

      Let me weigh in…(no pun intended…)

      I too am a clydesdale rider…6 foot, 225 lbs. A lot of what Bombardier says is true. I test rode a few different bikes both with coil overs and air…

      If you are looking for a good climbing XC bike and don’t plan on taking drops more than around 3 feet on a regular basis, any air suspension from Fox is a sure bet. I know you have asked about frames and Bombardier named all good companies. Picking a frame is a personal thing and is more a feeling than anything else. All the top manufacturers have their strengths and weakness’, but they are great bikes and the technology has come a long way.

      I’d suggest going to your LBS and riding several bikes in the price you want to spend…get a “feel” for what you like.

      I tested a Kona which had a coil over and liked everything, except the frame “felt” a bit cramped to me…
      I tested a Cannondale Rush and it felt pretty good.
      I tested the Trek and a Giant Trance too…both felt pretty good. I tested the Specialized Enduro (with coil over Fox shock) and it felt alright, but I was informed although it was a good climbing bike for a “free ride” type bike, It wouldn’t pedal up hill as well as some of the others I tested.
      I test rode an Elsworth with coil over suspension and almost bought the bike, however, it was about 500 more than I wanted to spend…
      However, when I rode the Specialized Stump Jumper FSR…It fit “ME” like a glove, price was right and one of the guys working in the shop was about my size and had one too…He loved it and couldn’t bottom it either…

      I ride/race desert off road motocross and so I ride fairly aggressive for an almost 40 year old man, but I don’t jump 20 foot gaps or huck off eight foot drops. The Fox Triad Air shock with Pro Pedal, Fully Open, and Locked positions have met all that I can dish out to it. The bike climbs amazingly well even in Propedal (were I keep the shock adjusted to about 80% of the time). The locked position is just like a hardtail when or if you need it (I put it there from time to time to see if I can use it for anything…I usually switch it out to Propedal on climbs right away…) and the fully opened position is very plush on long downhills. I ride in some pretty rough terrain and have not been able to bottom the shock, even when fully open…

      I have the Fox Float RTL 130 mm forks. They too have been able to take all that I have thrown at it…Same adjustability is air and the fork is very compliant to rebound adjustments. Some feel they “dive” to much in heavy braking…I think they dive in heavy braking, but like how much they dive (a lot like my YZ400F)…

      If I were more aggressive, I would definetly find a good coil over and spring fork as Bombardier talked about…But for fairly aggressive XC riding…the Air Suspension rides real nice…

      My two pennies worth…

    • #69331

      I think you could be very happy with an I.H. SGS….
      I did some research on that frame online, and a grand majority of people are happy with them while using it for aggressive XC/ light DH….. All while using a very wide variety of coil & air suspension components.

      Most companies will do direct frame-only orders, but some {like Gary Fisher & Trek} only do full bikes.

      Here’s my .02.

      Buy a Nomad! There, I said it. 😼

      They’re expensive, yes….. but the payoff is oh-so sweet…..

    • #69332

      Thanks guys!!!

      Yea, wish I could afford an S.C.!

      Luckily I just need a frame so I can invest a litle more money in a good frame.

      I really appreciate your input!


    • #69333

      BTW..I would still welcome anyone elses input, but I’ll let you know what I end up with!

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