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Wednesday
Dec282011

What bike should I get...

A friend asked me about which bike to buy to get into endurance racing. I wrote this up in an email and I thought I'd share. Must have been high on coffee....

Here are the major items to consider:

Full Suspension vs. Hard Tail Geared vs. Single Speed 29er vs. 26 Carbon vs Metal Components Cost

I’ll hit on each really quick and make my recommendation.

Full suspension has suspension travel on both the front and the back. A hard tail is front only. Hard tails are great from short rides and or rides with lots of climbing where weight is an issue. Full suspension adds weight but it gives you better traction and does not beat you up as much. If you are going to do endurance racing or biking around here, I’d go with a short travel full suspension as your all around bike.

Geared vs. Single Speed. Go geared to start, just having one gear is fun, but its punishment. People did Leadville on them and I bow down to those people. If you ever pick up a second bike, a single speed rigid (no suspension) is fun. A great training bike. On this one go geared.

29er vs 26er. This has to do with wheel size. 29er adds weight, but that’s about it. It gives you better cornering, better traction, 10% less rolling resistance. If you were smaller and shorter, I’d say 26. Like our friend Margarita for example. But you, go 29. I’m a convert and won’t go back ever.

Carbon vs. Metal. Carbon is lighter, and costs more. I’d go metal to start or if your budget permits go carbon. It really does not matter anymore. Costs have come down, and it’s reliable on a mountain bike. That being said I did crack mine at Leadville. If I was ever to have the cash and do some crazy 10 day stage race, I’d go metal. I’ll make some suggestions at the end of this email on some bikes.

Components -- Again cost. It’s basically Shimano or Sram. Either is great. I personally like grip shift and not triggers but it’s preference. There is a new trend to do 2 x 10 like a road bike, i’d stick with 3 x 9 (3 gears in the front) it adds weight but it’s the place to start.

Cost -- The sweet spot for bikes is around $2500. You get the most value here. More than that and you are just shaving a few lbs perhaps for thousands of dollars. Below that and you are getting a really heavy bike with some shitty stuff.

So in summary given that you probably will do some racing on your bike at some point. Perhaps the longer stuff, in the midwest I’d go: Short Travel Full Suspension, 29er, with a decent setup.

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