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Thanks for all the good perspectives 🙂
I do want to be able to take on bigger drops and harder trails. I also want to ride the Mohican 100 at some point. Maybe not on this bike, but we’ll see… If I can actually train enough to make a 100 miler sound doable, then I can probably justify an XC bike.
Unfortunately I’m only at around 600 offroad miles for the year. I will probably hit 1,000 miles if I count the trainer and road rides, but I have 2 kids under 4 at home, so that’s a big part of the self-imposed budget, as well as a realistic consideration for the amount of time I spend riding, and the level of risk I take.
With that said, I have crashed a lot more times making mistakes on “routine” obstacles than I have by attempting to ride something I should have hiked.
Framed MN 3.0
It’s not that I can’t afford both, necessarily, it’s that I don’t want to sink tons of money into a $750 bike unless it’s something that will transfer to my next bike, or something that is a true “game changer” for my riding experience.
I like simple and reliable. I prefer to drive manual transmission cars. I shoot revolvers and bolt-action rifles. I make one-course meals. My local trail (which, while great, is very beginner-friendly) definitely doesn’t require a suspension fork. That’s not to say it wouldn’t change the way I ride it – but I do think it’s ridiculous when people on $5,000 full suspension bikes are clocking slower times than me in the TT series… I look at that as wasted money on their part.
it’s already a contentious debate in my head 🙂
I’m not here to give you advice, because I probably have a lot of the same questions, but here are a couple more things to keep in mind when looking at used hardtails.
– was it designed as a 29er, or is it a 26er frame that was modified to fit 29″ wheels when those became popular for XC? (I did some research on a used Salsa and decided to pass, because it was not their best effort… It was one of the earlier 29ers, and while it was built well, and had good components, the geometry wasn’t designed well for 29″ wheels)
– speaking of geometry, trends have changed in the last few years. The angles on a 2010 bike are going to be different than those on a 2017.
When you’re spending this much money, it’s natural to agonize over the decision, but the rider is the primary performance part on any bicycle. Phil Kmetz rode the shit out of a Tokul 3 and took it on a downhill run at a bike park.
I wish i hadn’t seen this. Now i’m tempted, but I would want a suspension fork to go w/ the 29″ wheels…
I like the idea of making my bike more versatile and better suited to XC racing, but for the cost of wheels and a fork, I could buy a used hardtail.
I replied to this a while ago, but it occurred to me just now that no one (no one I’ve seen anyway) has mentioned the additional un-sprung weight that a larger cassette adds to the rear wheel.
1x systems ARE as good or better than 2x and 3x systems. If they weren’t the pros would not be using them. But what’s best for a pro isn’t always what’s best for a more casual rider who isn’t in pro-level shape. I am not at all embarrassed to admit that I fall into the latter category.
That said, and I assume the bike manufacturers have considered this, adding mass below the suspension (i.e. anywhere on the wheel itself) has negative effects. Will 1 or 2 more sprockets on the cassette add enough weight that it makes a significant impact? On the high-end cassettes made from expensive materials, definitely not. On the lower-end cassettes made from steel, possibly. Would it ever be enough of a difference that an amateur would notice? I think it could.
I run tubes, but people RAVE about how much lighter the bike feels and how much sharper it handles after going tubeless. Now pretend you’re comparing the weights of 2 cassettes – one with a 1×12 setup, and one a 3×7 setup. Assuming both cassettes are the same material, the one with more gears is going to weigh more. The front chainring on the 3×7 is heavier than the 1×12, but that weight has a reduced impact on handling (on a full-suspension bike) because it’s above the suspension rather than ‘below’ it. the chainring mass is no different than adding a slightly heavier rider, whereas the cassette mass is rotational weight that the suspension now has to move to work.
IF people are really being honest about feeling a difference between the few grams saved from losing their rear tube, then 5 additional rear gears would be at least as much mass, albeit not as far from the point of rotation.
That actually makes me feel better…
If it’s technique, then I can just ride more and not spend money on shoes, etc. 😛
I do tend to be in the saddle when this happens, and while I sometimes worry about it being any issue in downhill sections when i’m off the seat, I can keep my heels down then.
I may still try flat(ter) soled shoes. My trail running shoes were purchased when I was training for a tough mudder. I haven’t actually run in them for a couple of years now, but the soles still have pretty knobby tread.
I’ve looked at these a bit, and while there are definite differences between a gravel bike and a CX bike, I don’t find those differences to be significant enough to justify a gravel bike. I also don’t have many gravel roads local to me (although I have traveled for gravel rides and races). Conversely, there is a 10+ round cyclocross series. That’s where I’ll probably spend my money.
The only thing I like more about gravel bikes is that they seem to be suited more toward comfort on longer rides. I don’t own a road bike, so whichever route I go, that will BE my road bike when the trails are closed, just with different tires.
Options are good, but I’m not sold on gravel bikes as a place to spend thousands…
I’m a huge fan of small utility trailers. I sold my pickup truck 8 years ago and bought a folding 4×8 trailer from harbor freight. I currently tow it with a 2003 toyota corolla. The corolla is rated to pull 1500 lbs., and the trailer will hold 1100 lbs. It weighs about 300 lbs. empty (counting the plywood deck). I’ve pulled 2 small dirt bikes (plus other riding gear) hundreds of miles with that setup. The trailer drops fuel economy by 2-4 mpg. It’s still above 30.
My 5×7 two-man tent fits on top of the trailer well enough when I need it to. Obviously it overlaps the fenders of the trailer a bit. If I were camping more routinely, I’d probably build a PVC pipe frame, and buy some canvas to construct walls and a roof. Sew on some velcro straps to hold it to the frame, and make some screen windows, etc.
…but that all seems like a lot of work when the 2-man tent fits well enough.
Large plastic tubs are worth every penny you pay for them with this setup. You have to ratchet-strap them down properly, but they keep everything on the trailer dry in transit, AND outside the tent, after you’ve set up camp. That frees up a lot of space in the car. If you’re willing to spend more, it’s not difficult to find airline cases that have locking mechanisms to prevent them from being tampered with, and to tether/chain them to the trailer frame.
I usually have a firearm on my person, or in my vehicle, so leaving keys (to the car, or to the lock-box) anywhere near it is a huge no-no.
Situations like this are what make the whole “that’s 100 grams lighter” conversation incredibly stupid to me… I keep my car keys (and basic bike tools) in a tail bag, under my seat. If the weight is having an adverse effect on my riding, I haven’t noticed it.
I watch pretty much everything from Brian, Seth, Alexander, and Phil. I also like GMBN, but their self-imposed obligation to publish a new video daily has started to lead to forced and/or repetitive content.
With that said, I like them all for different reasons.
My take on each of the channels I follow:
Brian has outright acknowledged that his videos are not for everyone. He is his target audience. As a 34 yr old professional (although i feel weird typing that. I often forget that I’m perceived as having an ‘important’ job…) who doesn’t hesitate to say “fuck” in front of his 3 yr old, and who fancies himself an aspiring XC racer, I can relate to Brian the most out of those guys. But Brian has a lot fewer obligations than I do. I love that he’s making ends meet by riding and filming, but I couldn’t do what he does. I am sure I couldn’t support the aforementioned 3 yr old, or her baby sister doing what he does.
Seth’s bike hacks is the only channel of those listed where my wife (not a rider) will watch along with me, and remain entertained. Seth has greater appeal to non-riders, which is ultimately HUGE for the sport. Talking about tacos and trail dogs is a big part of that. Voice-overs, music backgrounds, and obscur(ish) topics keep things interesting. Without looking, I bet only 1/4 of Seth’s videos are actually primarily about riding a bike.
I can’t find a label or simple descriptor for Alexander, and I expect he’d like that. The guy reminds me of my brother (who quit a job with Boeing 3 years ago, and currently trades labor for lodging, and leads mountaineering trips on the side), crossed with Jesus, crossed with that annoying fucker who always seems like he’s had 2 coffees before you’ve gotten yours poured. I find Alexander to be inspiring and positive. It’s also cool that he rides bikes pretty well. His is more of a “lifestyle” channel than a mountain bike channel. He’s said it a few times, but he’s “building a community.” Mountain bikes are what they have in common, but “live free, ride hard, get stoked” is the real mantra. For whatever reason, I can’t get my 3 yr old to repeat that on camera… Then again, I’m probably better off without her repeating much of what I say, given my propensity for casual cursing.
Phil has the most riding knowledge, and I think he’s the best about staying “on-topic” with his videos. “Skills with Phil” almost limits what he can post, but I find his explanations and advice helpful. I think a lot of us forget he’s 26. I was a goddamn moron at 26. I may have even gotten married that year 😛 Phil has been smart enough to realize that professional downhill racing isn’t a great career move, but it’s a good way to generate YouTube fans, and remain relevant in the riding scene. I think Phil stands to be an amazing resource, because he’s an exception to the “those who can’t do, teach” assumption so many people make. This is only a ‘second career’ for Phil, because his first career as a downhill racer started so early.
They all have likeable personalities. That’s really what will keep people watching. Plus they aren’t SO famous that they’re annoyed by attention (yet?)
Not trying to be rude by asking this, but how much faster is a purpose-built XC bike going to make you in an XC race? And that isn’t directed just as YOU, I’m asking how much time the bike actually shaves per mile, with identical effort.
Sounds to me like you’re definitely due for an upgrade, but I question how many riders (I have this debate with myself a lot) can really race faster on a XC bike versus a good (and probably more comfortable) trail bike.
A friend of mine is a serious cat 1 racer. He rides his fat tire bike on the trails… the race bikes are (almost) only for racing. Maybe I misunderstood, and you’re fine with that, but I don’t have the budget to spend the most money on the bike I will likely ride the least often. It would also suck to see your primary bike end up being faster, but less comfortable than it could be – especially if it’s only marginally faster.
I clicked on this thread as much for advice as to share my own thoughts, but I bought a fat tire bike as my first bike.
The lack of suspension means better components for the same price-point. That may not be an option if your local trails (or riding style) really require a suspension fork, but mine don’t… I’m dealing with tree roots and small rocks. No major jumps or rocky downhill sections.
I know it’s (relatively) heavy, and that the additional rotating mass of the fat tires makes it feel even heavier than it is. But screw it – it’s fun to ride, and I’m going to do XC and CX races with it. This early in my riding “career,” I need a lot more performance upgrade than the bike does. Speaking of that, I’m NOT planning to upgrade my bike. Not unless something breaks, and the upgrade parts are reasonable to purchase.
I looked at a 2009 Salsa Mamasita hardtail. It was in used, but good condition. $750. I bought a 2016 Framed Minnesota 3.0 instead. Also $750 without a scratch on it, and I cabn account for 100% of its history …plus i bought it in December, and I wanted to be able to ride in the snow.
Good luck with whatever you decide.
I tried to convince my wife that we needed a van… She cried and (after admitting that I was correct in my argument that it was the most practical choice) convinced me that we shouldn’t drop $25k on a vehicle she resents, even if it is the most practical choice.
I have developed a reasonable alternative, but I don’t want to derail a good van thread.
March 15, 2017 at 2:16 pm in reply to: Have you ever discovered a booby trap on a bike trail? #210394
No, but always remember that half of the world’s population is below-average intelligence.
Everything is a trade-off. Lots of good points have been made here. Ultimately, I don’t think you’ll know until you try.
I’ve never run a 1x, so I won’t speak ill of them. with that said, I don’t see a need to upgrade to a 1x system either… I currently have a 2×10, and I do drop onto the granny ring for steep climbs. I’m also pretty new to mountain biking though, so as my strength improves, the granny ring may become a waste.
Swapping gears is really common in motorcycle racing. I’m used to messing around with different ratios a lot before finding the one that had the fewest drawbacks. You may end up doing the same for your local trail(s). Finding the right sized front cog to make the cassette range ideal is definitely more convenient than having to switch from 8th/9th/10th on the granny ring, and 3rd/4th/5th on the larger ring – and that does tend to happen on my 2×10 setup at times.
I wanted a mini van as well. Wife wouldn’t do it. “we’re not going to spend $25,000 on something I hate.” Fair enough.
…but they are tremendously useful. Moreso than a truck, IMHO. As I mentioned, I had a ranger for a few years (i’ll save people the effort of pointing out that a ranger “isn’t a real truck”), and while it moved motorcycles and towed a trailer well, my parents’ mini van could do the same (not towing quite as much) while keeping my cargo dry, clean, and secure. The mini van even fit 4×8 sheets of plywood between the wheel-wells, which my truck definitely could NOT do.
I really like my wife’s 2016 Sorento V6 AWD, but sliding doors would be a lot easier to get the baby seat into and out of. The only the the SUV does better is have AWD, and that’s rarely necessary for us. I’ve taken my corolla off road more than her nice new ‘truck.’
I don’t like to ride with earbuds in. Constantly falling out, and I think it’s safer to be able to hear what’s around you. That said, my ‘internal soundtrack,’ limited to a top-3 would be:
Golden earing – Radar love
Beastie boys – Sabotage
Ram jam – Black betty
I can’t stop pedaling while those songs are playing. They turn climbs into rises.
It’s clear that I’m in the minority with this opinion, but call it food for thought…
Virtually any small car can pull 1,000 lbs. An inexpensive trailer (harbor freight has several for under $300) fits more bikes and gear than a pickup bed, and the 99% of your driving that you’re NOT pulling it, you get much better gas mileage than a pickup.
I would not advise towing with a CVT (and I’m fairly certain the OP’s corolla has one), but when I owned a pickup truck, the bed was usually empty. I got 16-18mpg in mixed driving. With my current car (’03-’08 corolla), I can fit 4 people a lot more comfortably than the Ranger ever did, and the car will pull 300 lbs. of trailer, plus 300 lbs. of dirt bikes, 100 lbs. of cooler & drinks, etc. without breaking a sweat. It would probably struggle in the mountains with the motorcycles, but not with bicycles…
Average economy with my car is 34.2 mpg (I’ve tracked over 40,000 miles with fuelly). That number drops to about 30 when towing.
Does that make my corolla the “ideal” mtb vehicle? Hell no! But I am not in the camp that thinks a pickup is necessary, or “ideal” either.
IMHO, the ideal MTB vehicle is capable of fitting 2 bikes inside (for security), has AWD to get you to and from remote trailheads, and gets 30+ mpg. I’m pretty sure I just described a Subaru wagon. Choose your own variation. Any of their vehicles can tow an open 4×8 trailer with 4 bikes and tons of riding/camping gear for you and 3 of your friends in the wagon. I bet it would probably get 28ish mpg under those conditions, and surpass 30 in everyday driving.
I also bought the Framed Minnesota 3.0 for $750 at the end of 2016. I believe the 2.0 was $650 and the 1.0 was $600.
I have no complaints about the MN3. The trails have been abnormally soft (meaning closed) this winter, but I’ve put several hundred road, gravel, and muddy miles on the bike. Last weekend I did a 40 mile gravel grinder with a buggy trail that was complete soup. I’ve crashed it once on snowy singletrack. No mechanical issues to report – I mean, my derailleur froze solid, but that was happening to everyone, regardless of how expensive their bike was.
For my budget, the MN was the best value I could find, but a lot depends on your expectations. I expected a (relatively) heavy bike with no illusions of going tubeless with the stock wheels. I also don’t live near trails that demand a full-suspension bike (or even a suspension fork when you’re on 4″ tires). On of my friends has a 1.0 and she puts a ton of miles on it – she also has higher-end bikes for when there’s not snow on the ground.
Personally, I think that if most people are realistic about their needs (and don’t live in the frozen tundra), fat bikes should be less expensive “toys” for use when their other bike(s) aren’t able to gain traction. You wouldn’t spend as much on a snowmobile as you spend on your car, right?