New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

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New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby willsmother » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:56 am

Wanting an upgrade to my 2004 Giant Iguana, which I have loved, but has worked hard for me and is showing its age. Budget up to $1500 I think, but not sure. I want a hard tail not dual suspension. XS frame fits well. Basic requirement, get up hills faster and with less effort, and keep up with riders half my age and twice my size. (I am a 51 year old woman, about 153 cm, about 53 kg.) Helps if it is low maintenance and can survive the tough conditions in Timor. (BIG HILLS, potholed roads, some bitumen, some gravel, punctures a major issue, and did I mention big, huge, will I ever get to the top of this type hills.) Oh and the air is salt too, so screws etc do rust out quite easily
Will be in Darwin in March. Cycle Zone have recommended Giant XTC 1 in XS size but because they have to order that size in specially I would have to pay a 10% deposit and commit to buying it sight unseen when I came to Darwin. I know this is fair enough on their part and this is definitely not a complaint, but I am a bit anxious about committing to something that costs $1500 without trying it first, because all the threads say go to your LBS and try as many bikes as you can, but we don't have a real LBS here in Dili, and my requirement for an XS frame makes it harder to walk into shops elsewhere and find the size in stock.
Advice very welcome.
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by BNA » Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:58 am

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Re: New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby silentbutdeadly » Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:58 am

If the Iguana is showing its age...in what way? I know they were hardly top spec back in the day...but if it fits you and the frame remains serviceable then I'd consider new wheels and driveline rather than getting a new bike. Even if that bike is a Giant XTC...which'd be fine for Timor. Though you might want smaller chain wheels up front to get up those hills!!

If you do want to keep gunning for the XTC....check out the geometry measurements and compare them to that of your Iguana. You could even make a simple frame out of timber or bamboo that represents the XTC that you can again compare against the Iguana and yourself.
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Re: New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby grasshopper » Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:05 am

Wow, always tough finding little bikes, but more complicated than usual for you! Someone might be able to comment on the XTC, but have you already compared the geometry and specs, to get a feeling for whether it would fit (as opposed to being the smallest one they can get)? Does anyone local have a similar bike you could test ride?

And are you happy with the gearing of the Iguana, so is the XTC equivalent or better? How does the weight compare? Just thinking that if the frame fits (and budget allows), it might be worth upgrading a few bits to drop some weight if necessary. And maybe plan to replace a few important screws with ti or stainless.

Hope someone can help.
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Re: New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby willsmother » Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:08 am

Wow, replies already, thanks! The problem is that to upgrade my much loved Iguana would require technical skills I do not possess. The bike shop in Dili tries its best but you would not let them loose on high tech jobs or with sensitive or expensive parts. A hammer is one of their more used tools. I could do with one lower "granny" gear for the hills, plus a better (?lighter?) shock. definitely shorter and lighter cranks, the cranks I have on were put on in Mandalay (I lived in Burma for six years before Timor) and they are too long for me and quite heavy. The V brakes are actually OK and for Timor easier to maintain than discs. Its headset is a $9.50 version put on in Dili, its hubs were put on in Rangoon after I wore the old ones out riding in silt in the wet season. A good rebuild would probably solve a lot of problems but I thought sadly that might cost more than a new bike, and in any case I have the problem of getting it to Darwin then back. A lot of keen riders here rebuild or otherwise tinker with their own bikes, but that's more a boy thing really.
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Re: New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby CommuRider » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:00 pm

How about a Dahon Cadenza

http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Mode ... elID=70672

Suggested height a bit taller than you but it has fat tyres and an 8 speed internal hub
Amateur oenologist and green-friendly commuter.
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Re: New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby grasshopper » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:11 pm

hmmm. If you know any of the local keen riders well enough to ask advice, they might be able to give you a ballpark on upgrade cost. Or is there a club, where you could ask if there's a member who would do the rebuild for you? It does sound like a fair bit of work though, and parts, as well as getting it Darwin and back.

I'd still be checking the XTC specs - weight v Iguana (for an idea of how much you want to shed, if any), crank length (lots of shorties on 165s), gearing, geometry etc. The shop might happily swap out a couple of bits, or you might end up leaning towards buying the frame and getting them to do a custom build and upgrade as funds permit.
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Re: New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby Sydguy » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:03 pm

Rangoon, Dili - your just name dropping!

When you upgrade to a different bike you really want to try it. Contact the bike makers through their socal media pages and see if they can match you up to a bike. They might be able to find people of similar stature who can help you make the decision based on their experiences.

Merida had some kind of relationship with the Tour De Timor, they might be willing to help in some way.

Best of luck in the tour, take care on the "roads" they are dangerous at best.

JM
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Re: New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby silentbutdeadly » Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:59 pm

willsmother wrote:Wow, replies already, thanks! The problem is that to upgrade my much loved Iguana would require technical skills I do not possess. The bike shop in Dili tries its best but you would not let them loose on high tech jobs or with sensitive or expensive parts. A hammer is one of their more used tools. I could do with one lower "granny" gear for the hills, plus a better (?lighter?) shock. definitely shorter and lighter cranks, the cranks I have on were put on in Mandalay (I lived in Burma for six years before Timor) and they are too long for me and quite heavy. The V brakes are actually OK and for Timor easier to maintain than discs. Its headset is a $9.50 version put on in Dili, its hubs were put on in Rangoon after I wore the old ones out riding in silt in the wet season. A good rebuild would probably solve a lot of problems but I thought sadly that might cost more than a new bike, and in any case I have the problem of getting it to Darwin then back. A lot of keen riders here rebuild or otherwise tinker with their own bikes, but that's more a boy thing really.



If the shop in Dili is basic in their treatment of bikes AND you aren't keen to tinker then the XTC is probably not for you. Highly strung suspension forks, discs, Dili's legendary weather and Timor's legendary roads will mean maintenance will be frequent and frequently specialised. So you may loose either way...

I re-equipped a similarly aged bike with a Shimano Deore 9spd driveline and V-brakes for around $350. Add another $250 for wheels and you're away. Of course these prices would only apply in Darwin. But if you can get them sent there ready for you to pick up then all is good. If there's some one there who could fit them all the better. Just strip the Iguana frame before you go and take it with you.

Otherwise I can't help but think that a steel framed touring bike frame with 700C wheels, fat 35mm tyres, a carbon fork and a 9spd MTB driveline would be a better 'simple' option for someone in your location and temperament for bicycle tinkering!!
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Re: New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby skull » Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:18 pm

grasshopper wrote:hmmm. If you know any of the local keen riders well enough to ask advice, they might be able to give you a ballpark on upgrade cost. Or is there a club, where you could ask if there's a member who would do the rebuild for you? It does sound like a fair bit of work though, and parts, as well as getting it Darwin and back.
\


It is timor, the local riders apart from about 5 are a rough and ready style of rider. I remember the first TdT and they were riding barefoot because they had only been given shoes and spds and didn't like them.

As for a local club I will say again this is Timor.
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Re: New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby willsmother » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:12 pm

Thanks for reminding me that high tech bikes need high tech maintenance. That got me thinking. Actually there are some very keen expat cyclists here, very much into bike modifications or even building entire bikes. They are all talking about what they are doing to their high end bikes. Lots of talk about high end components which goes straight over my head. I don't even know what I want to fix in my bike. The old Suntour forks are not "squashy" any more (it's a 2004 model with coil spring forks.) They take the big bangs but not the smaller ones. I don't know if you can service forks like that. I think newer forks would be lighter and smoother, but I am not heavy so I do not need really heavy duty forks, just something to cushion the killer potholes. When I go on Wiggle there are so many different kinds of fork it freaks me out. Also I am not sure if every kind of fork can go on my type of bike, and how you put them on to the bike, and whether this means you need a new headset. While old, my forks have had NO maintenance ever, which shows they are tough. The chain jams sometimes. The cranks are too long, and heavy, and white, would love smaller black ones, but I don't know if when you change cranks you have to change everything they attach to. Maybe my cables need taking out and greasing and new ones putting back in, how this would change how it works I don't know. I don't have clip pedals, they scare me a bit. Maybe I should. Then I would need clip shoes, and the whole size thing becomes an issue again. My brakes are V brakes and everyone says disc brakes are better, but they also seem to be adjusting them more than I do, and it seems to be harder. What I want my bike to do is go up hills easier. I get out there and train every single day, and the hill is still just as big and just as hard. I don't think a steel bike with 700 wheels is the answer though, the roads are too scary for 700 wheels and I think standover height would be a problem, and everything rusts really easily here. Oh dear. Thanks for all the discussion though, it is really helpful.
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Re: New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby trailgumby » Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:20 pm

It might be worth mentioning here that 700c rims are the basis of 29er mountain bikes. Their advantage is they really smooth out the bumps, you don;t fall into them as much with the bigger wheels. However, with your small stature getting an off-the-shelf 29er frame that fits you will possibly be a bit of a search. Trek / Gary Fisher might be a good place to start. Willow Koeber placed in the top three at the UCI Worlds in Canberra last year (or was it the year before?) on a 29er and she is TINY.

Image

Most competitors will be on something like an XTC, so if you get stuck you could probably get some help from one of their support teams.

Coil sprung forks with decent damping and an appropriate spring for your weight are pretty hard to come by these days, air sprung forks have come down in price so much that most hardtail bikes in your price range will have them. The advantage is that setting the spring preload so that it suits your weight is a doddle using the shock pump that (I think) comes with the bike: just set the pressure so that you get 20-25% sag when you're in the "attack position" (pedals level, bum off saddle) and you're done.
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Re: New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby willsmother » Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:19 pm

Sorry for basic level question. Are air sprung forks different from hydraulic forks??
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Re: New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby silentbutdeadly » Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:49 am

willsmother wrote:Sorry for basic level question. Are air sprung forks different from hydraulic forks??


Not really. Air sprung forks are hydraulic forks - they are partially oil filled and they use air chambers as the springs with the oil providing damping (control over compression and expansion of the spring).

Your forks probably have steel coil springs with grease and elastomer pads providing the damping.
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Re: New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby skull » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:58 am

Also the best style of bike for Timor riding would be a 29er.
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Re: New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby grasshopper » Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:18 am

willsmum, big wheels roll more smoothly over the bumps, but if you look in to 29ers be aware that Willow is a lofty 157 cm :wink: (by most accounts) with the strength of a pro. So you might want to weigh up the added comfort of a 29er at pro speeds versus the weight penalty of the larger frame/wheels/tyres. Hope you're getting somewhere with it.
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Re: New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby mitzikatzi » Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:38 am

Smaller people (no offence) are better suited to 26 inch bike IMHO.
Short people always play the Willow on a 29er card. Her Team mechanics have modified the head set to lower the front end.

I would look for a bike with Avid BB7 brakes ( more than likely you would need to swap them) they are cable brakes.
Other wise I would use disc brakes with mineral oil ie Shimano.
I would also consider using a square taper crankset. Either with a sealed bottom braket bearing or a Phil Wood one which is easily serviced. External bottom brackes do not like being dunked in water and most are difficult to service. Chris King are easy to service but cost a lot.
It would be difficult to find a new fork that fitted your old bike that didn't mess up the handling.

I am unsure if you would be better with an Air or Coil fork considering your location and access to bike servicing
Xplora wrote: Do not get cheap SPDs, your body will hurt you.

trailgumby wrote:29ers are awesome.
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Re: New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby willsmother » Tue May 15, 2012 11:05 am

Follow up: I bought an XS Giant Alias in Melbourne and brought it back here. IN the end the choice was simple- it was the only bike in my size in the shop, and I only had one shopping day really. Quite a few people here have them, so I know they can survive multiple Tours, the specs were good, and most importantly for me, the fit is comfortable. Looking forward to riding it enough to stop feeling like it is a new bike that I have to nurture and worry about-took me a while with my last bike
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Re: New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby silentbutdeadly » Tue May 15, 2012 9:56 pm

Nice choice...and well equipped to boot even for a older model. Only thing to bear in mind in the longer term is the Octalink bottom bracket. Shimano don't appear to be supporting them that well these days so if you can source another one just in case...

Otherwise...enjoy the Tour!!
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Re: New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby grasshopper » Wed May 16, 2012 9:52 am

Glad you got something you're happy with. One of my friends has ridden TdT twice, so I'd be interested to hear how it goes. Hope that hill is getting smaller. :)
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Re: New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby willsmother » Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:32 am

Just completed Tour-everything worked really well, even the legs. Amazing experience, a real challenge. We felt so strong we were out riding the day after the Tour. The Alias worked just fine, has a few scratches from the sag wagon day but they add character. Slime tubes are great, I had NO punctures and my friend (with no slime tubes) had five. Only thing I would have done differently would have been to replace my fork spring before the Tour. I had the stock coil which was too stiff for my weight which was hard on the rough stuff. The tour mechanic kindly installed my new soft (yellow) spring which I had ordered online (from Outside Outfitters in the US) and it is a lot better, but I only did it after the Tour.
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Re: New mountain bike for Tour de Timor-extra small size

Postby grasshopper » Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:23 am

Glad to hear it. Congrats! :) Doing it again?
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