Undecided on Beginner Bike

thatmdee
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Undecided on Beginner Bike

Postby thatmdee » Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:04 pm

Hi all,

After the last 2 years of road, I'm now taking an interest into branching out into MTB.

After a little reading around, I've decided to fork out a bit extra and go for Full Suspension rather than a hard tail. I'm currently eyeing off one of the 2019 Specialized Stumpjumpers.

Based on my height (168cm) and weight (~68kg), I'm leaning towards a 27.5, and based on the 'playful', 'nimble', 'agile' etc characteristics people seem to attribute to this wheel size they seem a little more 'fun' or more suited to the riding style I'm interested in. I also like the versatility offered by this bike, with the ability to go to 27.5+ or up to 3.0" tyres. There's also the flip chip for changing the geometry (bottom bracket height and head tube angle), but I'm unsure how much difference (if any) this makes in the real world or if it's a gimmick.

The remaining concerns are:

1) I'm unsure whether I should go the short (130mm front and rear) or long travel (150mm front and rear). Essentially, I'm after a good 'all round' trail bike for riding around different areas of Newcastle (Glenrock, etc). I'm after a well balanced bike, with no particular emphasis on climbing or descending.

2) I'm looking at the $4,000 Stumpjumper Comp Alloy 27.5 with Shimano SLX. For an extra $300 (so $4,300), I'm tempted to get the next model up with 12 speed SRAM NX Eagle. I'm unsure whether for a beginner like myself, if I'm willing to spend the extra, if it's worth going with this groupset instead. The drawback is the 12 speeds in alloy don't offer much in the way of colour availability.

3) I've also been eyeing off the Stumpjumper Comp Carbon 27.5 (12 speed) for $5,900. I have never had a carbon bike (even on road) before. In addition, I'm new to mountain biking. I am unsure whether my concerns are unfounded, but I was a little worried about cracking a carbon frame if/when having a crash. Is this a valid concern? Or is this largely blown out of proportion? My understanding was the weight difference between a carbon MTB frame and alloy isn't too significant, as the carbon frame is likely to have more material to allow for impact damage -- and weight differences are also down to groupset. The attraction of the carbon frame to me was the possible difference in stiffness / ride feel (maybe not as noticeable on full suspension?), the colour availability (yes, I'm very particular / superficial) and the addition of the SWAT box in the frame for storing things.

4) From what I can see, the Stumpjumper small tops out at 168 cm, medium starts at 168cm. Height - Arm span = 168 - 174 = -6 cm. Therefore longer reach may be better as my arm span is greater than my height, so I should perhaps go for a medium frame?

Any thoughts would be much appreciated!

Thanks!

David2406
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Re: Undecided on Beginner Bike

Postby David2406 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:13 pm

Are we allowed to mention Rotorburn forum in here, more MTB based. Might get faster advise. Admins remove if not allowed.

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Duck!
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Re: Undecided on Beginner Bike

Postby Duck! » Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:48 pm

thatmdee wrote:Based on my height (168cm) and weight (~68kg), I'm leaning towards a 27.5, and based on the 'playful', 'nimble', 'agile' etc characteristics people seem to attribute to this wheel size they seem a little more 'fun' or more suited to the riding style I'm interested in. I also like the versatility offered by this bike, with the ability to go to 27.5+ or up to 3.0" tyres. There's also the flip chip for changing the geometry (bottom bracket height and head tube angle), but I'm unsure how much difference (if any) this makes in the real world or if it's a gimmick.
Wheel size is only a part of the equation, but smaller wheels tend to allow for less compromised frame geometry, especially as frames get smaller. Semi-fat tyres (politically-correctly referred to as "plus-sized") will largely negate the handling gains of the smaller rims; a 27.5x3.0" tyre is very similar in overall diameter to a 29x2.2". That said, I think 27.5 with "normal" sized (around 2.2" wide) tyres is the best-balanced package; it's better able to roll over rough, chunky stuff that can trip up a 26" wheel, but is easier to chuck through tight twisty stuff than 29". I'm a litle bit taller than you, and have not ridden a 29er that I would want to rush out and buy. Some I've ridden have just been truly awful, others somewhat tolerable. My own bikes are borderline-retro 26", and are absolute weapons in their element but do have limitations. The 27.5s I've ridden overcome those limitations without sacrificing too much of the fun factor, much better than any 29er.

The Flip Chip sounds a little contradictory in its adjustment. Steepening the head angle will improve agility at the expense of downhill/technical stability, while raising the bottom bracket will increase ground clearance for exactly the situations where you'd want more stability from a slacker head. If it's only a small adjustment then it's probably more of a gimmick than any real benefit.


The remaining concerns are:

1) I'm unsure whether I should go the short (130mm front and rear) or long travel (150mm front and rear). Essentially, I'm after a good 'all round' trail bike for riding around different areas of Newcastle (Glenrock, etc). I'm after a well balanced bike, with no particular emphasis on climbing or descending.
I'm not familiar with your area, so can't advise either way, but try to have a look at what others are riding there; if there's a particular leaning to a certain amount of travel, that should inform which option you should lean toward. Just bear in mind that more travel typically means less efficient (and more painful) climbing, so if there is a decent amount of uphill, the shorter travel option may be the way to go. It's also down to frame geometry; longer-travel bikes typically have slacker angles, especially up front, for descending stability, and that's going to translate to some pretty washy handling when going up.

2) I'm looking at the $4,000 Stumpjumper Comp Alloy 27.5 with Shimano SLX. For an extra $300 (so $4,300), I'm tempted to get the next model up with 12 speed SRAM NX Eagle. I'm unsure whether for a beginner like myself, if I'm willing to spend the extra, if it's worth going with this groupset instead. The drawback is the 12 speeds in alloy don't offer much in the way of colour availability
.
SRAM NX Eagle isn't the upgrade that the extra gear might suggest; in terms of material spec and component quality it's a fair step below Shimano SLX.

3) I've also been eyeing off the Stumpjumper Comp Carbon 27.5 (12 speed) for $5,900. I have never had a carbon bike (even on road) before. In addition, I'm new to mountain biking. I am unsure whether my concerns are unfounded, but I was a little worried about cracking a carbon frame if/when having a crash. Is this a valid concern? Or is this largely blown out of proportion? My understanding was the weight difference between a carbon MTB frame and alloy isn't too significant, as the carbon frame is likely to have more material to allow for impact damage -- and weight differences are also down to groupset. The attraction of the carbon frame to me was the possible difference in stiffness / ride feel (maybe not as noticeable on full suspension?)....
Carbon frames are generally very well built. Yes there is the very remote possibility that you may crack it in a crash, but more often than not it will bounce out unsctahed. The bonus is that if you do crack it, it's more readily repaired than anything else, and because of the nature of carbon, won't be bent out of alignment - ding an aluminium frame hard enough and it will bend out of true. Unlike metals, carbon doesn't bend to a new shape, it either springs back to its original shape, or it breaks. It usually takes a much greater impact to break a carbon frame than it takes to bend an aluminium one.

4) From what I can see, the Stumpjumper small tops out at 168 cm, medium starts at 168cm. Height - Arm span = 168 - 174 = -6 cm. Therefore longer reach may be better as my arm span is greater than my height, so I should perhaps go for a medium frame?

There would likely be some overlap in the recommended rider heights for the frame sizes, to allow for differences in body proportions. Try both small and Medium and work out what feels better.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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bychosis
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Re: Undecided on Beginner Bike

Postby bychosis » Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:21 am

I recently upgraded my MTB and looked at the Stumpjumper. I think that it is probably too much bike for Glenrock. The trails there mostly are well suited to XC bikes and it doesn’t really have the trails to suit a bigger travel bike. Awaba has some more downhill oriented trails. A local salesman really tried to get me on a Fuel EX 29er for Glenrock, which is a Camber equivalent.

I ended up buying a Trek Remedy 27.5 (which is equivalent) anyway and despite it really being more bike than I can handle am having a great time on it and look forward to some more adventurous trails and MTB parks. When I rode the stumpy 27.5 and 29 back to back I enjoyed the smaller wheels more despite being 181cm tall and there being plenty of space in the larger frames for 29 wheels.
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rangersac
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Re: Undecided on Beginner Bike

Postby rangersac » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:44 am

I'd call a 130mm dually a mid travel trail bike (generally 130mm-160mm is referred to as mid) rather than a short travel (100-120mm), and the Stumpy definitely is more of a trail geometry/ design than a short travel XC bike. Modern mid travel bikes can handle some pretty rugged terrain as well, whilst pedalling efficiency generally isn't compromised greatly.

Specialized make decent bikes, but their pricing is far from the sharp end of things. Given your budget is $4-6K you can get some killer bikes in that bracket with much more kit than on the Stumpy's you have highlighted. For example the Canyon Spectral CF 9.0 Pro is on special at the moment, and smashes the Comp Carbon out of the park component wise for less coin. It's a good time to shop around as 2019 stock is coming in, so clearance deals on 2018 stock are happening.
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thatmdee
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Re: Undecided on Beginner Bike

Postby thatmdee » Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:45 am

Thanks for the great responses!

I didn't realise the Shimano SLX groupset would be better than the 12 speed NX Eagle groupset... So I'm struggling to now understand why the 12 speed Stumpjumper is an extra $300 over the 11 speed version.

I definitely looked at the Spectral, but the colour availability seemed limited. I was considering the Spectral AL 7.0 at one point, but saw people claiming Canyon won't support or honour the warranty on anything but the wheel/tyre width it comes with, which is why I turned my attention to the Stumpjumper (up to 3.0", can do 27.5+..)

The other issue with the Canyon was the comments from people in the owner's thread on MTBR seemed a bit mixed regarding customer service, there were issues with the chain stay cracking, and some known issues with the dropper post. Also the press fit BB seemed a little problematic.

I had posted elsewhere, and apparently the Stumpjumper has been quite popular around Newcastle, but I can't say for certain. Still somewhat tempted by carbon. I think my fear of the frame cracking is probably largely unfounded (unless I have a really bad crash). Although the only reason I can see to pay for the carbon frame is ride feel (and I'm not sure what the difference is), and the colours are slightly better.

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rangersac
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Re: Undecided on Beginner Bike

Postby rangersac » Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:07 pm

MTBR is US centric so you'd be better off looking at Rotorburn for Australian Canyon experiences as it's a distribution type model. Anyway Canyon is just one option, search up Bike Exchange and have a look at listings. You'd definitely get a better specced Trance Advanced for your budget, or if carbon worries you and you want tyre flexibility the Marin B-17 has an Eagle GX drivetrain, and the ability to run 27.5+ or 29
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bychosis
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Re: Undecided on Beginner Bike

Postby bychosis » Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:25 pm

thatmdee wrote:Thanks for the great responses!

I didn't realise the Shimano SLX groupset would be better than the 12 speed NX Eagle groupset... So I'm struggling to now understand why the 12 speed Stumpjumper is an extra $300 over the 11 speed version.

I had posted elsewhere, and apparently the Stumpjumper has been quite popular around Newcastle, but I can't say for certain. Still somewhat tempted by carbon. I think my fear of the frame cracking is probably largely unfounded (unless I have a really bad crash). Although the only reason I can see to pay for the carbon frame is ride feel (and I'm not sure what the difference is), and the colours are slightly better.


Check out the rest of the spec for the 12spd version. It may be that it also has other better stuff, like shocks, wheels etc. the drivetrain is only a small part of the spec list for a dual suspension ride.

I’m not surprised the stumpy is popular locally, Drift seem to be big players in the area, and are conveniently located to glen rock and provide demo bikes. I looked seriously at the Stumpy at their store, and had I not had a some brand loyalty to Trek and found a superseded model at a good price may well have had a stumpy in my possession.
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thatmdee
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Re: Undecided on Beginner Bike

Postby thatmdee » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:33 pm

Using the compare feature, interestingly, apart from slight variations in wording, they look identical apart from the groupset. Very confusing!

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bychosis
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Re: Undecided on Beginner Bike

Postby bychosis » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:08 pm

thatmdee wrote:Using the compare feature, interestingly, apart from slight variations in wording, they look identical apart from the groupset. Very confusing!

When I looked on the specialised website I first filtered for 2019 models and couldn’t see a stumpy comp 27.5 for $300 less than the 12spd. Looks like the 12spd is the 2019 model, whereas the SLX is from 2018 which may explain the lack of difference in spec. Looks like the 29” model is $300 cheaper with SLX for 2019.
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Re: Undecided on Beginner Bike

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:34 pm

Duck! wrote:.......Semi-fat tyres (politically-correctly referred to as "plus-sized") ....


I laughed out loud at this..
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thatmdee
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Re: Undecided on Beginner Bike

Postby thatmdee » Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:05 pm

bychosis wrote:
thatmdee wrote:Using the compare feature, interestingly, apart from slight variations in wording, they look identical apart from the groupset. Very confusing!

When I looked on the specialised website I first filtered for 2019 models and couldn’t see a stumpy comp 27.5 for $300 less than the 12spd. Looks like the 12spd is the 2019 model, whereas the SLX is from 2018 which may explain the lack of difference in spec. Looks like the 29” model is $300 cheaper with SLX for 2019.


The SLX is actually also a 2019 model. I contacted Specialized about this, and apparently they're having issues with the categorisation/filter issues on the site. Their response:

The $300 difference is mainly due to the extra gear on the back, which makes it 12 speed.
The other difference between the models is the groupset as you've mentioned (Shimano SLX 11 speed vs Sram NX Eagle 12 speed).


Seems like a waste of $300?

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