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Looking for an easy to maneuver bike

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Looking for an easy to maneuver bike

Old 12-17-21, 03:18 PM
  #1  
hevysrf
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Looking for an easy to maneuver bike

Old guy here, so I don't go very fast, but my cruiser style frame leaves me wishing I could turn a little easier and quicker on the trails. Can you recommend a frame or style designed to be nimble? Short wheelbase? Is "Slacker" more stable for high speed?
Hard tail is ok.
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Old 12-18-21, 06:22 PM
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ok, so I'm an old guy, and very non-expert mtb rider (roadie for many yrs/decades), but I can climb pretty well and not kill myself on sketchy descents.
I don't have a 'modern' mtb - as in 9r; but my bike is very serviceable and was a top bike in the Mid 2000s... I recently gave it some love and upgrades, which turned out great and made riding more enjoyable, safer and faster. Made it much closer to what I might get by buying 'new'.
Wheel base will likely be a result of the choice you make in wheel size. 29 being the most common on the higher end bikes, and preferred by many more expert riders.
27.5 being a bit smaller. Generally 27.5 is a bit more manueverable,in tight situations. I upgraded my bike from a 26 front to a 27.5 (I had a good fork which also fit 27.5) and that made a big improvement in handling, especially on difficult singletrack. 29 does even a better job in handling rough terrain.
From what I see, there are quite a few bike models which come with 27.5 wheels in the smaller frame sizes and 29 in the larger sizes of same model.
I have both a Full suspension and a Hardtail, and my preference is well towards the Full Suspension. It handles more predictably in all situations and offers a more comfortable and predictable ride. Full SUspension weighs a bit more than HT, but I don;t really notice it, riding.
Also recently put on a 'dropper seatpost' (on both the FS & HT) - really super addition which adds versatility to riding.
In your case, I highly recommend looking at and trying bikes at your local bike shops. You don;t really save that much buying online (unless you are really clear in what you want) and the cost of disappointment can be much higher if you don;t like what you decide to buy - online.
Try as many bikes as you can. A good quality air suspension fork is well worth the extra over some unknown product.
If you need to decide between frames sizes, I personally would go with the smaller size choice. Read, there's a huge store on knowledge online. Watch videos, ride bikes.
The newer stuff, from known manufacturers, is really very good.
Buying 'previously cherished' bikes is only successful, if you know pretty much what you want and have a chance to see, handle and maybe ride it before buying.
Hope this helps.
Ride On
Yuri
EDIT: the fork on my FS is a FOX with 100mm travel, for me 100mm works fine on quite rough stuff. Going much more travel isn't going to mean much to my kind of riding. If I was buying new bike 100 would be acceptable, 120-140 would be the meat of what might be useable in any situation, for me. There are some very tight singletrack in areas I ride and I find 27.5 handles quite well, not sure about 29, since I've not had the chance to try on these tight sections...not ready for an e-bike just yet...

Last edited by cyclezen; 12-18-21 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 12-19-21, 03:17 PM
  #3  
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First choice should be a full suspension bike and second choice a hardtail with a dropper post added. Bike nomenclature has become blurred with full suspension XC bikes that in the past would have been considered enduro bikes. If you have a local shop that lends out bikes for a 2 hour evaluation it will be the fastest way to gain an understanding of exactly what you want. There is also the option of checking out the Craigslist bike ads in your area and going for test rides on the bikes up for sale.

With bike shops the advice can be very good or very bad and no way to know which you are getting without some hands on experience.
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Old 12-19-21, 03:46 PM
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Consider whats become known as down country mountain bikes, something with 100-130mm travel, front and rear suspension. Giant, Scott, Trek, etc all have variations, but these are perhaps a more relaxed version of all out short travel race bikes, and I think they are quite capable for general riding:

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/stance-29-2
https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/b...?colorCode=red
https://www.scott-sports.com/us/en/p...icle=286278008
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Old 12-19-21, 07:00 PM
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Thanks for the replies, I've spent some time measuring my bike and see it has an inch shorter wheelbase and a head 5° closer to vertical than todays offerings.
I'm 5' 6" and I don't think I would be comfortable with the increased height of 29's. Maybe I need to look at some old school stuff.
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Old 12-20-21, 11:24 AM
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I would suggest not assuming - go try/ride a new bike. It will be obvious how much better new is, compared to 'old school'.
The difference in handling from an old 26 to the newer 27.5 and 29 is remarkable. The function of drivetrain, suspension, brakes, wheels, everything is better Seriously...
Your concern for 'wheelbase' is unfounded. The new geometry of the recent generation is a HUGE improvement over anything old school. New offers not only better handling, but a larger margin of safety and comfort.
I already had a top line old school bike; and with some easy upgrade, I get some of the 'effect' of new, but not all and certainly not for all situations.
But I'm quite certain that a 'new' bike will be in the cards for me, in the near future, as my riding time and skills return and improve. All still keeping my riding at a conservative level.
Buying 'old' and thinking to 'upgrade', I believe is foolish, and way more spendy than getting a new bike now. Not considering on the needed 'kludge' to get the upgrades to even fit.
Go, ride a new bike; then ride something old school - the difference will be more than obvious.
Rode On
Yuri
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Old 12-22-21, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by hevysrf View Post
Thanks for the replies, I've spent some time measuring my bike and see it has an inch shorter wheelbase and a head 5° closer to vertical than todays offerings.
I'm 5' 6" and I don't think I would be comfortable with the increased height of 29's. Maybe I need to look at some old school stuff.
29ers are not taller. Bottom bracket height (which is what determines how high off the ground you are) is completely independent of wheel size (assuming you are using the wheel size the frame was designed for).

I recent years bottom bracket heights have gotten lower, so it is in fact likely that a modern 29er will be LOWER than most old school 26ers.
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Old 12-22-21, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by hevysrf View Post
Old guy here, so I don't go very fast, but my cruiser style frame leaves me wishing I could turn a little easier and quicker on the trails. Can you recommend a frame or style designed to be nimble? Short wheelbase? Is "Slacker" more stable for high speed?
Hard tail is ok.
Without knowing what you are currently riding, it is hard to know what will be faster handling. If you are riding a beach cruiser on the trials, any real mtb is going to be a massive improvement in appropriate handling.

Any XC or Trail oriented Hardtail is going to handle on single track trails pretty well.

Though you don’t specify what you mean by “trails”.
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Old 12-22-21, 03:01 PM
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I am on a beach cuiser, and normally on cinder MUPs or groomed moderate hiking trails. I'm working with bad knees and shoulders, the swept back bars on the cruisers keep my hands closer to torso where I still have some strength. I can't for see ever getting airborne or doing technical trails.

Last edited by hevysrf; 12-22-21 at 03:05 PM.
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Old 12-22-21, 03:25 PM
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I'm 5'7" and just bought this - 29" wheels in a medium frame, but they also do a small in 29" wheels. Its a great size for me, and its not too high.


My new 2022 Scott Spark 960
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Old 12-22-21, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by hevysrf View Post
Old guy here, so I don't go very fast, but my cruiser style frame leaves me wishing I could turn a little easier and quicker on the trails. Can you recommend a frame or style designed to be nimble? Short wheelbase? Is "Slacker" more stable for high speed?
Hard tail is ok.
Going from a cruiser to a mountain bike should immediately provide a more nimble, capable ride. You might be psyched with ANY new mountain bike!
In general, a 27.5" wheel bike will tend to feel "quicker," all other things being equal. If you're sub 5'8", then this wheel size would probably be ideal.
In general, an XC mountain full suspension is going to tend to feel more lively and faster through the single track. Steeper angles and shorter wheelbase will give you this, and this is usually how XC bikes are designed.
The longer the travel, the heavier the bike and slacker the angles and less "lively" feeling.

Why ride a hard tail if you can ride full suspension? Today's rear suspension designs are pretty damn amazing. In fact, you'll see improvements in climbing rough terrain, as the suspension absorbs bumps and lets the wheel ride up and over the obstacle instead of hindering your forward momentum.

Yes, there's a weight penalty. But you get to decide how much. XC bikes are pretty damn light.

Pick a bike with lighter wheels and this will "liven" up the feel of the bike.

I'd be surprised if you didn't land on a 27.5" XC bike.

That said, you really need to get out and demo bikes. Unfortunately, the dead of winter might not be the best time. Then again, maybe if you're in an area conducive to winter riding, perhaps you'll have all sorts of stuff available to ride. But given product shortages, you may strike out. I attended this year's Hurricane Mtb. Festival in Utah and they had virtually no demos. Two yeas prior, they had TONS, but is was STILL hard to secure a bike!

Good luck!
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Old 12-23-21, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by hevysrf View Post
I am on a beach cuiser, and normally on cinder MUPs or groomed moderate hiking trails. I'm working with bad knees and shoulders, the swept back bars on the cruisers keep my hands closer to torso where I still have some strength. I can't for see ever getting airborne or doing technical trails.
From what you are describing, I would not get full suspension.

Frankly, I am unclear of I would even be looking for a mountain bike. Are you feeling the need for suspension? “Groomed moderate hiking trails” is kinda vague. Are these smooth trails? You definitely don’t need suspension for cinder MUPs.

If you do go the MTB route, I would be looking at a 29er HT. There are reasons for some to go with 27.5, but from what you are describing, they do not apply to you.

ANY xc or trail oriented mtb is going to be more nimble handling than a beach cruiser.

I would also look at some of the better hybrids, like something from the Trek FX series.

Or if you want something with more tire clearance but don’t need suspension, something like the Surly Ogre.
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Old 12-26-21, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by hevysrf View Post
I am on a beach cuiser, and normally on cinder MUPs or groomed moderate hiking trails. I'm working with bad knees and shoulders, the swept back bars on the cruisers keep my hands closer to torso where I still have some strength. I can't for see ever getting airborne or doing technical trails.
I could probably be your stunt double. old guy, 5'7", two bad knees from motorcycle accident, screw in right shoulder from wrestling injury. My days of sending 10+ feet jumps is long gone ha-ha.

Do you ride fast, groomed flat trails like this ?
https://www.strava.com/activities/3585787046

If yes, I would get a gravel bike 2x setup.



or you doing crazy down hill with rocks, tree roots, ruts etc.. like this ? I have to tip toe my gravel bike down sections like this by the time I get to the bottom my forearms and wrist are all beat up. My mnt bike friends are 2x to 3x times faster than me on this section and feel nothing. I would definitely get a full suspension bike if this is what you ride on. I am shopping for one also.


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Old 12-26-21, 05:17 PM
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Drop bars are in the past for me, still looking at older full suspension bikes, small frame, wide handle bar..



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Old 12-27-21, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
29ers are not taller. Bottom bracket height (which is what determines how high off the ground you are) is completely independent of wheel size (assuming you are using the wheel size the frame was designed for).

I recent years bottom bracket heights have gotten lower, so it is in fact likely that a modern 29er will be LOWER than most old school 26ers.

truth. I pedal strike on my new school 29'er (100mm XC bike) at the same frequency as I used to on my old Santa Cruz Superlight
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