Recommend me a bike

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Recommend me a bike

Postby Lurkin » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:58 pm

I test rode a 2011 Torrent 1 (with upgraded groupset to the SRAM Torrent 2 set up)... which was fine in every way.. except the height of the handlebars.

It felt way way too low. The last mountain bike I owned was set up for downhill and was really all forks, but as I no longer ride downhill, I don't think I need a full blown DH bike. I just really want that almost BMX feel of having the handlebars high enough.

The salesperson started suggesting changing the stem and handlebars to an adjustable stem (weak as piss) and buying new, high rise handlebars online (so it couldn't be changed and tested there and then).

I left the shop and have written a list of preferences for the new bike, as follows:-

- handlebars must be high enough not to have to reach down
- lock out preferred on both front and rear shocks
- remote lock out for both shocks at the handlebars
- crazy amounts of travel is not required.
- preferably mechanical disk brakes, but not essential
- preferably > than 26 rims, but not essential
- larger front chain rings preferred

Almost any full on DH bike will be able to check most of these options - but they are more than I need and usually pretty expensive. Any suggestions?
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by BNA » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:11 pm

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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby dmwill » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:11 pm

What kind of LBS recommends you buy parts online?

Why the preference for mechanical discs? You're really only going to find them on sub $700 entry level hard tails.

Without knowing your budget, its hard to make any suggestions.
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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby Lurkin » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:16 pm

The kind of LBS that is more of an outlet shop.

I've had hydraulic disc brakes (hope) before and thought they were overrated.

Not essential, if the rest of the bike is fine and its the exception to the preferences I would move on.

The Torrent 1 was $1200. However, happy to spend more than this, its more getting what I want is more important. I don't think I would want to spend more than 2k as its likely to be left in a bike cage... and mistreated by the people who use the cage.
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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby poohkies » Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:55 am

you looked at Kona Honzo it's not dual it's hard tail, and 29'r?
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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby Calvin27 » Wed Feb 05, 2014 2:17 pm

AM 29er with 130mm+ front fork travel. .

Leading up to my recent bike purchase, I was looking for a 29er dual suspension for trails. I tried XC and AM bikes. What I noticed was that AM bikes (Commencal meta 29 AM for example) seem to have a much higher handle bar position compared to XC - mainly due to the 40mm difference in front fork travel. The frame needs to accommodate both the big 29er wheels and increased travel - the only solution is to raise the fork tube (is that what it's called?) position. It seems this is something you actually want so AM would be my suggestion.
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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby Lurkin » Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:57 pm

Sounds like exactly what I am looking for Calvin.

I havent looked to the Kona Honzo purely because I was focusing on full suspension bikes.

After hopping on the Torrent the other day, one thing was very clear - full suspension is so, so comfortable! very kind on the old knees.

However, I wonder how much the loss of power will be a pain in the rear compared to a hardtail.

I hadn't really thought of a hard tail DH style bike... brings back memories of the Avanti Hotdog!

Will look into this option further as its probably more suitable for my purposes than FS.

Are Kona bikes so heavy due to the cromoly frames? is there a lighter alternative?
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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby silentbutdeadly » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:34 am

I saw this earlier and thought of you...

http://www.bikeexchange.com.au/bicycles ... /102356310
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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby m@ » Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:07 am

Lurkin wrote:Are Kona bikes so heavy due to the cromoly frames? is there a lighter alternative?

If their MTB frames are anything like my Honkey Inc, they're a dream to ride and anything but heavy.

I find myself riding the Kona in preference to my alu roadie most of the time, though in theory it's the commuter/rain bike.
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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby poohkies » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:37 pm

I'm a novice to down hill trails, and the honzo makes this easy, numerous time done down hilling and havnt been able to find my limit, I love it to bits, I have my carbon to commute I also ride my bmx freestyle bike I still have from 98, the honzo is great, have done numerous 40km rides on it, even took it to the local skate park and road the 5 foot ramp, the weight has never been an issue, and I guess if it is at start your legs will work it out!
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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby Lurkin » Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:44 am

Was tossing up whether to go Transition 29er or Kona.. looks like Kona is better supported in Australia (welcome to put me wrong) so Kona it is.

After reading up on the honzo, appears the Kona Taro has more or less the geometry (diff in chainstay length) as the honzo, but has a aluminium (lighter) frame. If anything, (based on other reviews/ other forum's users/ owners comments) it will be kinder on riding uphill.

Ideal.

Further, whilst the spec of the components are a bit lower/inferior to the honzo's, the price is also substantially different (cheaper).

Now, to decide whether to just buy the frame and build it up - pros being choice of any part I want, skimping where I want to, splashing out elsewhere. I'm really tempted to do this, given the rubbishing the wheelset has received and the opportunity to spend more on a sweeter/ longer fork. What's the thoughts on putting a triple clamp on this one? I have also been considering going the other way - getting a fixed fork, cutting , extending and lengthing it... cheaper, but would defeat the comfort factor... hmmm.

or, buying a complete taro and being happy with it.

Further, would prefer to find somewhere in Melbourne that sells Kona, and stocks these. I'm not sure of what frame size to buy... being dead on six foot I'm thinking L or XL (I don't care if its larger than ideal for DH or jumping, it's not really going to get used for that anyway). If I can't find anywhere that stocks a complete it, I'll probably just build it up.
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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby Lurkin » Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:03 pm

Right well.. Kona's out.

Combination of Kona dealers in Melbourne being unwilling to discuss getting in a suitable frame and/or "we've got it in stock just put down a deposit right now" being rammed down my ear... so much better to shop online. Further, none could advise on a price for a frame only, and most seemed unwilling to really discuss the matter. Bo ho.

However, have found a frame which is very similar, made out of aluminium, slack head tube angle, short chain stay etc. etc. appears to be more reasonably priced than the Kona frames too!!!

Thus, will be building my first bike from scratch - very, very excited.
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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby poohkies » Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:07 pm

Sorry to here that, and I'm having the same issue finding a dealer in Brisbane, in Darwin the Kona guys where amazing
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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby zosim » Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:51 pm

I've had hydraulic disc brakes (hope) before and thought they were overrated.


I'd not ride mechanical discs on an MTB out of choice if I could avoid it. The only problem I've ever had with properly set up hydro brakes is boiling them on an alpine descent last summer but we're talking 30 minutes of fast descending with lots of rocks, roots and tight corners.

It sounds like you're looking for a decent value hard tail frame so you could do a LOT worse than On-One by mail order. They do everything from steel 26" slack hardtail (the 456 Evo 2) for 420 AUD to carbon 29ers for 740 AUD to carbon full sus 29ers for 1650 AUD and then build up with the price points of your choice.

Building a bike exactly as you want is something everyone should do (I'm about 8 or 9 full builds under my belt) but spend some time thinking about specifics of the setup. Seatposts (droppers are worth it if you can afford it), gearing (1x10 and 1x11 is very popular in Europe right now for weight and maintenance reasons), and how the bars and stem will be set up. I run wide bars and short stems on all my MTBs and after trying a narrower set of bars and a longer stem from my parts bin remembered why but it's an entirely subjective/personal decision.

For what it's worth, my steel 100mm travel hardtail is capable enough for 80% of what I ride but I use it mostly in winter with the 160mm FS taking over duties when the weather improves. The DH bike is park use only as you'd have to be deranged to want to pedal it uphill for any time at all.
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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby lardass71 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:17 pm

Don't forget u also have there in bred model it's probably one of the cheapest and most underrated hard tails on the market,, as for hydro brakes I can see your point, I'm thinking cable disk would be better then hope, but bring in avid and Shimano there's no comparison
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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby zosim » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:42 pm

Ahh... the inbred. Scaffold pole cycling at its finest ;)

Anything made by hope in the last 5-10 years should be better than cable actuated discs, even before cable stretch comes into the equation. Personally I've used Avid, Shimano and Formula over the years and they're great. The tektro cables I had on a CX bike were a pain to set up, fine in use but needed tweaking as the cable stretched. I sold the CX bike and won't buy anything road or CX disc equipped until hydro there is affordable and reliable.
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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby RonK » Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:44 pm

poohkies wrote:Sorry to here that, and I'm having the same issue finding a dealer in Brisbane, in Darwin the Kona guys where amazing

TC's Bike Barr, Moggill Road, Taringa.
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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby poohkies » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:17 pm

RonK wrote:
poohkies wrote:Sorry to here that, and I'm having the same issue finding a dealer in Brisbane, in Darwin the Kona guys where amazing

TC's Bike Barr, Moggill Road, Taringa.


I went to the shop near the tattoo place near the vet, and then tried the shop towards indroo that's green out the front no kona's in there either
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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby Lurkin » Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:02 pm

I've shelved the whole idea for the time being as:-

- I was planning to use it for the occasional commute. However, I can't see how wide handlebars and traffic go together.
- there is only one Kona Taro in Melbourne (2013) and the dealer wants too much for it.
- I am not paying for a 2014 model... just not ready to part with the $$ due to other priorities.
- building was the most viable option to get what I wanted, hydro vs cable disks wasn't really a biggy - its the frame shape and fork length that are the biggest deciding factors.
- not confident with purchasing a frame online without riding a bike similar/ with that frame....

in the too hard basket as more post grad study is taking up the spare time/ spare $$ now.
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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby trailgumby » Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:22 am

If the gap is too narrow to fit through with wide bars it's sure as hell too narrow to fit though with safety, period.

That does not impress me at all as a reason to shelve the purchase.

I've commuted for 7+ years on a mountain bike and wide bars have not ever stopped me from fitting through sensible gaps.

Test riding of course is wise. If you were motivated you would find a way.

What has really happened here is that you've got cold feet. And that perfectly fine.

No need to justify that to us, especially with a BS reason like that.

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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby Lurkin » Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:06 pm

BS yourself. No one has cold feet. Purchased a Trek mountain bike for the missus, so A needs to get into G.

Priorities, think, proceed.

Decided to look into the Kona option more as its just more feasible to purchase a bike as a whole rather than trying to buy bits competitively with limited time - then trying to find time to put it together. After trying to price it all up.. just wouldnt work out cheaper and that was without considering labour to put it together.

Had found a dealer in outer Melbourne with a 2013 Taro which he wanted to do a deal on, but would have been too much of a PITA to get it back to him to service it.. so back to the drawing board.

Found a dealer in inner Melbourne who just happens to be ordering in a Honzo (same geometry as Taro, also happens to be the most L LBS to work, Score!) in Large size... Hurrah, also found out that the 2014 models will have the XL frame being bought to Australia (apparently there was no XL in 2013 exported to Australia), so if its too small, will go for that. At least I can have a ride of it and see if its what I really want.

After discussing the handlebar concern with the LBS, could just cut it down.. we'll see. after riding a roadie on the commute each day, mountain bikes feel like monster trucks. Don't really want to ruin its maneuverability off road.

Further, they have free adjust-ability/servicing (not parts) for the life of the bike. Perfect.

They would will consider bringing in a Taro anyway given its a low value bike (comparably). So all more great news.

Will test ride it and see what it's like. Question is, can I actually wait to bring in a Taro or just buy the Honzo on the day????
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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby poohkies » Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:58 pm

I've got a 2013 xl
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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby Lurkin » Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:38 pm

So... went to test ride the Honzo and it did not have pedals on it. Ran out of time as this was during a lunch break. Sat on it, felt okish.

Got side tracked test riding Glory 2, way too heavy, to smaller wheels, low handlebar height.

However, test rode various other Giant bikes including a Trance SX, which felt the best of the bunch. Unfortunately, $3k+ so out of the budget.

Looks like Calvin was on the money, AM bike, 130+ travel in the front. Would prefer to go hardtail as full sus adds $$ (despite being sooo nice to ride) and is more than required.

Shop did not have cheaper hardtail frames with 130+ travel in the fork.

Further, Taro is only 120mm fork. grrr.

so.. seems like I'm back the drawing board and perhaps building using second hand parts would be an affordable option. Biggest concern with this is compatibility and lack of skill to put it together.
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Re: Recommend me a bike

Postby Lurkin » Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:02 pm

Now the owner of an X Caliber 8.

Not in the order of the other bikes, but more suitable for purpose. Sorted.
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