• This topic has 32 replies, 19 voices, and was last updated 5 days ago by mboy.
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  • Trail or XC bike advice needed
  • Premier Icon jonfraser100
    Full Member

    I’m after some basic bike advice. I’m after a bike that would be good to cycle from my front door up into the hills on day rides on natural trails. I’m not planning on riding at bike parks or doing big technical descents but something that good at covering ground efficiently.

    I was thinking an XC bike would fit the bill for this rather than a trail bike – I was thinking a trail bike might be overkill but I’m interested to hear what people think.

    The only bike I’ve been able to test ride though is a v2 Nukeproof scoutt – I found the reach a bit short on that but I mostly ride a road bike at the moment. I have found a couple of Orbea Alma bikes in size large, the m50 carbon and h20 alloy bikes. Has anyone about 6ft 1 got a large Alma – if so do you find the reach OK? Also have you had problems with the press fit BB on the carbon Alma? I would prefer to go to carbon but was thinking the BSA BB on the alloy bike might be a better option.

    Ideally I’d try and test ride one of the bikes but finding anything in stock is a nightmare, let alone trying to get a test ride.

    Premier Icon rockandrollmark
    Full Member

    In true STW I’ll give an answer to the question you didn’t ask. How about a trail bike (c. 130mm, so nothing too rowdy, but capable of tackling bigger stuff if you wanted it to), flip the road bike and replace with a gravel bike and a spare set of wheels for road use? Gives you two bikes that covers a very wide spectrum of riding.

    Now answering your question, I’d go for the trail bike over an XC bike. More versatile.

    Premier Icon susepic
    Free Member

    Rather depends where you ride doesn’t it?
    Natural trails in the Peak different to South downs…..

    Premier Icon roballison
    Full Member

    I ride a 140mm aluminium trail bike, for singletrack, cross country, big days out and gravel rides too.
    Pedals and climbs well, not too light but so what. I’m not racing.

    Premier Icon jonfraser100
    Full Member

    I’m in South Shropshire. I have about three miles of bridleways before I’m in the hills. Then I’ll be on a mix of not too technical single track, fire roads and the odd bit of country lane to string things together. I’m a bit put off trail bikes as they seem really heavy so thought that would equal a bike that feels un-responsive. I’ve read a few reviews and I’m always unsure when they say a bike climbs well if that means it has good traction or something that feels fast?

    Premier Icon Clink
    Full Member

    I seem to be using a xc hardtail for most riding, but local stuff includes lots of road linking sections. Cope with the Jenn ride in the Lakes though, which was pretty rocky this year. I enjoy light weight on the climbs.

    Premier Icon qwerty
    Free Member

    Specialized Epic Evo #downcountry

    Vitus Rapide FS #upcountry

    Premier Icon butcher
    Full Member

    XC bikes are great and massively underrated in the UK. A modern, short travel 29er will handle most stuff. If you do a lot of rough stuff, there’s an argument for a trail bike but XC sounds perfect for what you describe.

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Full Member

    I have a canyon Neuron cf 8 in that role

    I don’t really know enough about other bike to say it’s best but it works for

    I’d say its only been a couple places where it got out of depth. Potato alley and one in the lakes

    I’m not suggestion it was a problem brin getting down the tail but I could feel that a stiffer longer bike with more travel would have been better

    Mine is an older one and the build is quite light at a bit over 12kg

    Like rocket do I’m gravel bike with 2 sets of wheels believer. Mainly riding a gravel bike makes your short travel trail bike feel really capable

    Premier Icon jonba
    Free Member

    You want a Downcountry bike!

    Built like an XC bike but more relaxed so better for general riding.

    The vitus range (hardtail or FS) mentioned above look good.

    Scott seem to do well.

    It’s normally looks like an XC bike with a slightly longer, more modern geometry reach, slacker head angle and slightly more travel.

    Premier Icon joebristol
    Full Member

    I’d have thought something with about a 120mm fork either full suspension or hardtail would do the job well. I wouldn’t go full xc 100mm travel unless you’re actually racing – the front can be quite low and not that nice for just cruising about on bridleways. You probably don’t need to go full trail 140mm fork if it’s not particularly technical routes you’re riding.

    Maybe something like a Canyon Grand Canyon sort of thing – but with slightly longer reach size for size could do the job. Pipedream Sirius looks pretty good with a 120mm fork. Maybe a Stanton Sherpa or Cotic Solaris.

    It depends what your budget is really.

    Premier Icon susepic
    Free Member

    I’m with @qwerty
    Epic Evo. It’s a proper rocket up and down, and handles some bigger terrain as well.

    But you could probably go full XC with a straight Epic on that kind of terrain (I don’t know Shropshire tho)

    Premier Icon jonfraser100
    Full Member

    I watched a review of the 2022 Marin Team and that looked like it would have been perfect for me. That has a 120mm fork and slightly higher stack than most other XC bikes but I just can’t find any in stock anywhere. I also thought about the Specialized Chisel but again no stock. I have been riding a fully rigid Giant CFM3 from the early 90s so anything I get will be a massive improvement!

    One of the reason I’m thinking about the Orbea bikes is that they’re 12 speed Shimano Groupsets. I was thinking I could move the parts to a different frame if it just doesn’t suit me but would like to get it right first time if possible.

    Premier Icon OwenP
    Full Member

    Are you new-ish or returning to MTB after a longish break?

    It seems relevant because you mention you

    mostly ride a road bike at the moment

    and talk about short reach etc.

    If you are spending lots of time sitting down, it is quite possible for a long reach bike to still feel short. Steep seat tube angles and short stems do that, for bikes that are ‘long’ when you are out the saddle. This might affect your experience.

    If you want an efficient bike for covering ground, it seems to me that you are looking at short travel full sus, with the right geometry for how you ride, maybe a longer top tube (depending on how you feel about stem lengths). If what you mean by ‘no bike parks’ is that you are in the saddle more, that’s cool – but the reach/stack interpretation figures were developed for the opposite, to describe the likely ‘out of saddle’ bike feel, so comparing those figures may not give you what you want.

    Premier Icon Clink
    Full Member

    I have a Chisel, great all-rounder.

    Premier Icon jonfraser100
    Full Member

    I’ve always ridden mainly on the road but did do a fair bit of MTB riding as well back in the 90s, including a bit of XC racing although no plans to race now. I dug out my old giant rigid mtb last summer and it was great although limited by no suspension at all. The riding I like is not very technical rides but up into the hills exploring on double, single track and fire roads with bits of road to string it together. I had considered a gravel bike but after using my old MTB I want something a bit more capable than a gravel bike. I’m thinking I’ll be seated for the vast majority of my rides and shy away from technical descents.

    The Chisel sounds like it would be good but the only places that will give me a delivery date are saying early 2023.

    Premier Icon nt80085
    Full Member

    Also have a look at a Scott Scale. I have just bought a second hand one but latest model off ebay for a good price. I live on Exmoor and most of my day to day riding is xc track, fire road linking up natural singletrack. Steep climbs, stony descents, handles it all and that’s without a dropper. I have just fitted some rise bars but kept the longer stem to make it feel a tad less xc. The Scale is so quick everywhere it’s proper good fun. Highly recommended.

    Premier Icon funkmasterp
    Full Member

    I’d be looking at a nice HT with 120 to 130 fork for the usage you describe. Doesn’t sound like full sus is really needed. What is your budget?

    Premier Icon anagallis_arvensis
    Free Member

    On one whippet with the bouncy forks.

    Premier Icon jonba
    Free Member

    Another idea would be the Sonder Dial

    Premier Icon FunkyDunc
    Free Member

    I live north Shropshire where it’s similar, ride on the road to off road bits which are either non technical or very technical

    I’m thinking of an ebike (Orbea Rise)to make the getting there bits less painful and help on the really steep ups

    The other option is a hardtail. With better tyres and slacker front suspension they are very capable these days!

    Premier Icon avdave2
    Free Member

    I watched a review of the 2022 Marin Team and that looked like it would have been perfect for me. That has a 120mm fork and slightly higher stack than most other XC bikes but I just can’t find any in stock anywhere. I also thought about the Specialized Chisel but again no stock. I have been riding a fully rigid Giant CFM3 from the early 90s so anything I get will be a massive improvement!

    Funny but I’ve just looked at trying to get both of those but came up against the no stock situation. Then i realised that I was perfectly happy on my rigid Ramin 3+  for wheels on the ground riding on the South Downs it’s just a bit heavy. So I’ve just bought a Whippet frame and Selcof forks and am building that up with some parts from the Ramin, some second hand bits and some new bits. I started on a rigid Rockhopper in 86, the difference between that and the Ramin is night and day. Back then I was 21 and a day on the bike would leave me beaten up, I’m 56 now and can ride the same routes all day long with no problems.

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Full Member

    I started on a rigid Rockhopper in 86, the difference between that and the Ramin is night and day. Back then I was 21 and a day on the bike would leave me beaten up, I’m 56 now and can ride the same routes all day long with no problems.

    Looking back at those days just letting a bit of Sue out of the tyres would Irene helped

    I think I get more suspension out of my 47mm tyres on my gravel bike than I did on 56mm tyres in the 90s by some margin

    Premier Icon butcher
    Full Member

    I wouldn’t go full xc 100mm travel unless you’re actually racing – the front can be quite low and not that nice for just cruising about on bridleways.

    I think this is relative. When you come mainly from road/gravel, an XC bike feels super relaxed and comfortable in my experience. I’m on board with the downcountry thing though. I looked for similar but the concept seemed to be a myth – I couldn’t actually find any bikes.

    Premier Icon joebristol
    Full Member

    Something like this would be ideal other than the SX 12 speed drivetrain they’ve put on it.

    Has a light alloy frame, 120mm reba fork and a sensible spec otherwise. Ideal for your use.

    If you could do a deal with Tredz to swap out the SX mech for a gx one and the powerspline bb and crank for either a Sram dub NX one or Shimano deore perhaps for a bit of extra cash it would do you well.

    https://www.tredz.co.uk/.Boardman-MHT-8-9-Mountain-Bike-2022-Hardtail-MTB_229808.htm?sku=750897&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Mountain%20bikes&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIwNOssobD-AIViNPtCh0AIwQdEAQYASABEgI32_D_BwE

    Premier Icon avdave2
    Free Member

    Looking back at those days just letting a bit of Sue out of the tyres would Irene helped

    I think they were only around 1.5″ back then, although they looked very wide to me at the time. The bars might as well have been solid as well. Still I solved most of the issues with a Flexstem 😂

    Premier Icon steve_b77
    Free Member

    A nice 100mm travel XC bike is ideal for what you do, either FS or HT, either will be (probably) massively more capable that the pilot

    Premier Icon richardthird
    Full Member

    The bike I should have never sold was a carbon Giant XTC (XC race hardtail) with lashings of XTR but with a 120mm fork and a dropper (a tidy light one with handle under the seat) and beefier tyres tubeless (Spesh Ground control front iirc, was a while back) My God that was fast and huge fun!

    So, an XC bike beefed up a bit.

    Premier Icon NormalMan
    Full Member

    As others have said and, as much as many hate the term, a downcountry bike sounds like it would hit the spot.

    My riding sounds similar (with a bit of rooty tech stuff thrown in) and I have a carbon HT with 130mm forks and chunky tyres. Feels pretty perfect to me!

    Premier Icon andrewh
    Free Member

    . I also thought about the Specialized Chisel but again no stock

    My friend in Devon has one for sale. He’s 6ft ish.

    Premier Icon masterdabber
    Free Member

    After my crash/injury back in November I decided to take things a bit more steady and got a Kona Hei Hei with 120 front and back. Love it, it covers the ground so much better than my old Bossnut and I’m pretty much back to riding the same trails as before.

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Full Member

    That Boardman looks great. At that price I’d just ride it and replace bits as they break or annoy you

    A friend of my sons had a basic sram build and had brake issues. That might be worth investigating as that might over ride what I said above

    Another option is to look at Alpkit as they will let you choose the build

    Lastly a word about bottom brackets. Note I might be wrong but

    I’m fairly sure that it’s not possible for a SRAM DUB bottom bracket to be an upgrade of any other bottom bracket. They are worse in durability than the poorly sealed ones that I chuck in my gravel bike for £10

    Oh final thought on one were doing gx build Scandals for £1100. They are a bit more gnar but I think would still work well for you

    Can we have a whats the new scandal like to ride thread?

    Premier Icon mboy
    Free Member

    Nothing wrong with an XC bike… “Downcountry” is just the new marketing term for what many/most of us have been doing to XC bikes for ages, fitting wider bars, shorter stems, possibly a beefier fork/wheels/tyres and a dropper post.

    I’ve got a 2019 Rocky Mountain Element. I’ve modded it a bit, but it’s still 100mm rear and 120mm front, fast rolling tyres, but 150mm dropper and 780mm wide bars. I’ve got several bikes, but if I could only keep one, it would be this bike. It’s just perfect for jumping on and riding, wherever that may be. 👍🏻

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