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Pete

complete newb - needs advice

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So I rode a couple of easy tracks at Bright with the kids on a borrowed 29er hard tail.  the kids loved it so I want to get into some riding with them locally at the YouYangs.  So, if I am not into it in a big way and need to watch my dollars what is a "minimum spec" bike to get me around the tracks. I will never compete or be competitive, just want to spend time with Mr 11YO and Mr 13YO who both have Trek hard tails but am completely clueless when it comes to MTBs!

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I ended up spending ~$620 for a 2017 model Talon 2 +  pedal upgrade, spares etc took me to $750.

I looked for  long time at the ~$500 bikes, but couldn't find anything positive about them for actual off road use.

New model will set you back $900 though.

I think anything that drops the 3 x front ring is a step in the right direction.

But, it's like any other bike purchase.

Day 2 is all about thinking upgrades :)

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Yeh, something like a Talon would do the job. Not sure what fork they have but i sssume it has some rebound adjust. It will never be like a higher end fork so Just dial it down a bit so it’s not like a pogo stick. The tyres will most likely be crap so upgrade them to something better. With decent tyred at lowish pressures combined with good technique, you can do a lot on a low end HT!

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Spec shimano slx = 105

Suspension 120-130mm travel is the sweet spot for a do everything bike.

If going 1x on the front then need at least 11 on the back. Preferably 30 on the front otherwise the gears will be to big to climb short sharp slopes

Hydraulic disc are a must (cable disc are a waste of time). 

Don't be afraid of second hand. This may allow you to get a dual suspension bike for the same price. 

Alloy is the way to go for mtb frames.

 

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Thanks guys - really valuable information. I will start looking at the Talon and use that as my go-no-lower benchmark and see what I can find on the 2nd hand market.  It's a whole 'nuther world (for both the teck and the actual riding) but I am really looking forward to it! :)

 

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platform pedals got it.

I checked out the specs on the Talon - if I have it right it has 27.5" wheels but everyone seems to be talking 29er - is there any difference or advantage for the bigger wheels? (read "advantage for a fat slow hack with no ability whatsoever")

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9 hours ago, rory-dognz said:

 

If going 1x on the front then need at least 11 on the back. Preferably 30 on the front otherwise the gears will be to big to climb short sharp slopes

My trek came with a 32. Looking at switching to a 30 for more hilly riding....

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1 hour ago, Pete said:

platform pedals got it.

I checked out the specs on the Talon - if I have it right it has 27.5" wheels but everyone seems to be talking 29er - is there any difference or advantage for the bigger wheels? (read "advantage for a fat slow hack with no ability whatsoever")

depending on your height I'm 186cm and use a 29er, love it.  

But I would recommend a 27.5 to most people, lighter, more manageable, also you kids will grow into it and you can then upgrade. Also if you all end up with 27.5 then less spares, just easier. Both my kids have 27.5 bikes. Including my son 18 who is riding enduro, he wanted a new 27.5 when he got one in Dec

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I've been riding (and crashing!) my wife's Talon (27.5) around some fairly technical single track. At 173cm, I think the 27.5 is better for me than 29, though the frame size (XS) is too small & I have the seatpost up slightly beyond the minimum insert - I think S would be better for me?  I do wonder though if a better specced bike would mean better handling & less crashes?  I really don't want to bust any more bones when I get back into it in a few weeks time, a bit gun-shy now.  Think I'll just beetle around on the bitumen for a while to get my mojo back.

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At your height 27.5 might feel less twitchy but you'd need either a small or medium. For the majority of the you yangs trails (plantation) and some of the smaller stuff on the other side you could pretty much ride any priced bike. It's relatively flat with no major jumps/drop offs. Just fast smooth trails with plenty of trees to guide you. I rode a battered 26" hardtail with the forks locked out quite a few times there, and I would say that the biggest bang for your buck there would be to invest in some grippy tyres and work out an air pressure thtat will give you grip in the corners. 

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11 hours ago, ComfortablyNumb said:

I've been riding (and crashing!) my wife's Talon (27.5) around some fairly technical single track. At 173cm, I think the 27.5 is better for me than 29, though the frame size (XS) is too small & I have the seatpost up slightly beyond the minimum insert - I think S would be better for me?  I do wonder though if a better specced bike would mean better handling & less crashes?  I really don't want to bust any more bones when I get back into it in a few weeks time, a bit gun-shy now.  Think I'll just beetle around on the bitumen for a while to get my mojo back.

A better spec’d bike will give you suspension that is more subtle and adjustable and it will be a nicer all round ride but you can still do just about anything on a talon that you could on a higher spec xc bike given a few mods. Run an agressive treaded tyre up front ... as wide as you van fit. Run a less aggressive tyre on the rear the same width or margially narrower. Drop your pressures to as low as you can go without pinch flatting. Eg for an 80 kg rider try 22- 24 up front and 26-30 rear. Back off the rebound do it isn’t bouncing you off when you’re on rough terrain. Oh and don’t corner like a roadie. On flat corners Lean your bike and not your body. Leep your centre of gravity low. 

Edited by Chookman

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Im 166 and am on a 29er. 

Wasnt sure to start with, but i like it. Never ridden a 27.5

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On 04/02/2018 at 5:28 PM, Chookman said:

And use platform (flat) pedals. It will make you a better rider!

I wish I'd done this when I started riding off road. Ive hurt myself so many times that Im reluctant to get back out there. 

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2 minutes ago, surfer101 said:

I wish I'd done this when I started riding off road. Ive hurt myself so many times that Im reluctant to get back out there. 

There’s always risk but if you know tour limits and progress at your rate (not someone else’s) you keep risk to a minimum. 

Whenever you want to try something different read up about it and then practice it slowly. 

About 18 months ago i realised my technical skills sucked big time when i rode with a mate on a not super technical xc circuit. I went away with my tail netween my legs and decided I’d switch to flats and ride the tightest most technical trails my bike could handle. 

For anyone struggling and would liket better than average skills  i’d recommend the following:

more aggresive tyres at low pressures.

wider bars and shorter stem

flat pedals 

dropper post 

pad up

ride tight slow technical trails 

learn to track stand. Helps climbing and decending technical stuff more than you could ever imagine.

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I'm at 185 cm, I'm on an XL Talon (27.5)

I'm running 30-32 Psi @ ~110 kg.

Mostly dust and gravel.

The guy I did my course with noted my tyres aren't too flash, so I'll look at upgrading when it comes time to change them.

 

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I'm 170cm and on a trek superfly duel 29er. It's very fast on long open off road rides. This pic is me yesterday. Yeah I know I'm fat.

IMG_20180210_103428_1.jpg

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What is a dropper post?

And are shoulder pads a good idea for mtb - reduce the risk of breaking the collarbone again?  If so, what do you recommend.

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36 minutes ago, ComfortablyNumb said:

What is a dropper post?

Basically a seat post that you can lower the height of while riding. Most modern one have  a lever on the left side of the bars. Means you can lower your seat height for descending. For a XC bike 75mm is fine, for a all mountain/enduro bike 125mm is common.

I would rate the dropper seat post as the best advance in MTBing in the last 5 years. 

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13 hours ago, rory-dognz said:

Basically a seat post that you can lower the height of while riding. Most modern one have  a lever on the left side of the bars. Means you can lower your seat height for descending. For a XC bike 75mm is fine, for a all mountain/enduro bike 125mm is common.

I would rate the dropper seat post as the best advance in MTBing in the last 5 years. 

Agree! Also a must have if you ride platform/flat pedals. Drops, jumps, descending, bunnyhops and other fun stuff is easier and safer with the seat out of the way.

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What I learned today 🙈

If you've never ridden the track before, don't take the A-line jump before seeing what is on the other side of it.

 

  • Haha 1

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I've been getting into MTB recently and learned a lot from a ride around Oxford Falls a couple of weeks ago with a seriously good rider (Cape Epic frontrunner).  As I said to him at the time, going from one discipline which I'm pretty good at to another discipline where I'm pretty much a newbie is a humbling experience but also pretty damn cool

My key takeaways:

- Flat Pedals are the go, at least initially

- Forget everything you know about tyre pressure.  I had mine at 60psi initially, my mate let them down to about 35.  Chalk and cheese in terms of grip

- Dropper seatposts are very handy

- Take your time and don't bite off more than you can chew...

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5 hours ago, IronJimbo said:

I had mine at 60psi initially, my mate let them down to about 35

I had been letting my tyres down to go on the dirt, but just using "That feels about right" pressure.

On my lesson, Ben made it clear knowing your pressures was a good thing.

He said slightly different pressures front and back, I don't remember which way though.

He also suggested ~32 psi, but I'm bigger than him, so usually sit on 35.

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6 hours ago, IronJimbo said:

I've been getting into MTB recently and learned a lot from a ride around Oxford Falls a couple of weeks ago with a seriously good rider (Cape Epic frontrunner).  As I said to him at the time, going from one discipline which I'm pretty good at to another discipline where I'm pretty much a newbie is a humbling experience but also pretty damn cool

My key takeaways:

- Flat Pedals are the go, at least initially

- Forget everything you know about tyre pressure.  I had mine at 60psi initially, my mate let them down to about 35.  Chalk and cheese in terms of grip

- Dropper seatposts are very handy

- Take your time and don't bite off more than you can chew...

How much do you weigh? You can get away with less pressure if running tubeless. I’m 80kg and run 24 rear, 22 front on 2.25/2.35 tyres and 18/16 on another bike with 27.5 x 2.8 tyres.

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I'm about 81

The only reason I was running at 60psi is because I had NFI

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10 hours ago, IronJimbo said:

I'm about 81

The only reason I was running at 60psi is because I had NFI

35 is still too high imo. Try running 30/27 f/r and you’ll notice a big difference in performance. You won’t be bouncing off every small rock.

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Yep.  Having another crack on Sunday morning, I'll give that a go

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Picked up my new MTB on Friday (Norco Fluid 3 = entry level dualy $2199).  Have only been able to do one little 20min ride on it due to injuries sustained in previous ride, but it is very very nice compared to my wifes Giant Talon which I had been using (too small, XS frame).

I'm 173cm, 68kgs and went for a 27.5" M frame on the Norco.  Fit feels good, but I did have to put the seat right back on the rails.  I also note the handlebars are 76cm wide compared to 70cm wide on the Giant, so might cut them down to get through The Poplars (very narrow gaps between trees) on one local track.

I talked to the young bloke in the shop about tyre pressures as I'd been riding the Giant (tubes) at about 25-27psi.  He put 40 in the rear and 35 in the front of the Norco to avoid pinch flats (tubes), but I've dropped the front to 30 & might yet drop to 25.  Also, it comes with 2 different tyres - more aggressive knobs on the front for better traction.  Single chainring too = easy peasy and no chain rattle.

After riding a dually (even for 20mins), I'd never go back to a hardtail.  It is more comfy and faster over the rough stuff, rides better than my 93 Hilux (wouldn't be hard :blush:).  My first ever 'race' was on the wife's Giant and it took me about 20mins/lap pushing it fairly hard.  I only rode at 80% of that effort on the Norco & with my L knee killing me and did 20:30.

Can't wait for my knee to get better so I can give it a proper whirl.

Unlike triathlon, with MTB I get the exercise, but without the monotony.  It's just so much fun and you are always concentrating on the terrain & are out in the bush which takes your mind off the aerobic hurt.....except the crashing & hurting yourself bits which hopefully will be less often now I'm on a decent bike that fits.

 

 

 

Norco&Hilux.jpg

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On 10/05/2018 at 10:42 AM, ComfortablyNumb said:

Picked up my new MTB on Friday (Norco Fluid 3 = entry level dualy $2199).  Have only been able to do one little 20min ride on it due to injuries sustained in previous ride, but it is very very nice compared to my wifes Giant Talon which I had been using (too small, XS frame).

I'm 173cm, 68kgs and went for a 27.5" M frame on the Norco.  Fit feels good, but I did have to put the seat right back on the rails.  I also note the handlebars are 76cm wide compared to 70cm wide on the Giant, so might cut them down to get through The Poplars (very narrow gaps between trees) on one local track.

I talked to the young bloke in the shop about tyre pressures as I'd been riding the Giant (tubes) at about 25-27psi.  He put 40 in the rear and 35 in the front of the Norco to avoid pinch flats (tubes), but I've dropped the front to 30 & might yet drop to 25.  Also, it comes with 2 different tyres - more aggressive knobs on the front for better traction.  Single chainring too = easy peasy and no chain rattle.

After riding a dually (even for 20mins), I'd never go back to a hardtail.  It is more comfy and faster over the rough stuff, rides better than my 93 Hilux (wouldn't be hard :blush:).  My first ever 'race' was on the wife's Giant and it took me about 20mins/lap pushing it fairly hard.  I only rode at 80% of that effort on the Norco & with my L knee killing me and did 20:30.

Can't wait for my knee to get better so I can give it a proper whirl.

Unlike triathlon, with MTB I get the exercise, but without the monotony.  It's just so much fun and you are always concentrating on the terrain & are out in the bush which takes your mind off the aerobic hurt.....except the crashing & hurting yourself bits which hopefully will be less often now I'm on a decent bike that fits.

 

 

 

Norco&Hilux.jpg

Nice bike, the Norco's are great value. My son has been riding one for 3 years.

If it doesn't have a dropper post then i would recommend getting one. It makes any descents easier as just drop the seat and weight back. 

I run about 28psi rear/26psi front on tubed tyres, if super rocky the go higher to save pich flats and your rim's.

Tuning your suspension can make a huge difference to the way the bike rides, so if you don't have a shock pump they are worth getting. (my son rides my bike then adjusts the suspension, i ride it until he adjusts it again, each time it rides better after he has played with it.)

go have fun

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What Rory said! Only thing I’d add would be FFS don’t cut your bars down! Narrow bars suck! Short stem, wide bars = awesome!

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Here's my ute, sons with his norco and my niner on the roof. Just because I can!

SAM_4442.JPG

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On 11/05/2018 at 6:11 PM, Chookman said:

What Rory said! Only thing I’d add would be FFS don’t cut your bars down! Narrow bars suck! Short stem, wide bars = awesome!

OK. I'll leave em.

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After an otherwise enjoyable first lap of Manly Dam yesterday, I withdraw my earlier comment about flats.  Going back to SPDs

And 35psi is still too high.  Need to investigate tubeless options ASAP

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On ‎28‎/‎05‎/‎2018 at 1:59 PM, IronJimbo said:

After an otherwise enjoyable first lap of Manly Dam yesterday, I withdraw my earlier comment about flats.  Going back to SPDs

And 35psi is still too high.  Need to investigate tubeless options ASAP

Stick with flats, they'll make you a better rider. What happened? Did you get bounced off your pedals? Do you have a dropper? When you ride flats you need to think "heavy feet, light hands". when descending, drop your heels. If you go off a drop keep your heels down;  weight back slightly. Don't do what a lot a lot of SPD users do and try and lift when going off a drop. If your feet are coming away from the pedals it means you are lifting; it is not the bike falling away from you. 

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It's more the lack of a complete pedal stroke when going uphill that I'm used to on the roadies, although that's probably something else which doesn't translate to MTB

I handled the downhills pretty well once I got my weight distribution figured out.  The dropper came in very handy

Manly Dam is a great ride though, really good mix of terrain.  Manageable, but still testing enough to cut your teeth on.  I had a good run around Red Hill on Sunday afternoon too, I might get the MTB over there on the weekend for a bit of a scout

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Rode in Oxford Falls last weekend for first time. Below is loop I did some off. Map from Trail Forks which is a great app for your phone. I rode up and down Ground Control as part of riding slippery dip trail. I parked on Morgan Rd where a few others had parked. It was nicer riding than Manly dam in my view

Tyre pressure on the 29er was 26/28 and could have gone lower but I'm 90kg.

If i get the chance this weekend will ride the below loop.

I prefer SPD over flats for the climbing as well, just easier and no thinking. 

 

image.png.b6cbea8eb82dc8e8c5e04cb8c4613eb0.png

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Ground control is the trail I rode a couple of months ago.  Bit off a bit more than I could chew, but I'm looking forward to getting back over there once I get me some more skills

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