Need help picking a new hard tail

razer17

Guest
So I've been looking for a new mountain bike for myself. My current one is heavy and sluggish, with an awful fork and awful stop and go bits. I want an upgrade, and so I've set my budget at a £1000. I'm looking at direct suppliers at the minute, because they just seem to offer more bang for buck than the other major brands. I'm mainly going to be riding trails, probably not going to be doing much in the way of jumps and such. There's a few short, muddy drops and climbs in some woods near mine too, which I haven't dared attack on my current bike. I'm within an hour of Cannock, Woburn and Chicksands and others too, so I'd like to tackle those at some points.

Long story short, I'm looking at bikes, and currently I'm trying to decide between these four so far. Mountain bikes are much harder to choose than rod bikes, so I'm asking for some help.

Canyon AL 29er 6.9
https://www.canyon.com/en/mountainbikes/bike.html?b=3640
On-One Parkwood X9
http://www.on-one.co.uk/i/q/CBOOPWX9/on-one-parkwood-sram-x9-mountain-bike
Vitus Sentier VRS
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/vitus-bikes-sentier-vrs-hardtail-bike-2015/rp-prod120722
Bird Zero.3
http://shop.birdmtb.com/zero/zero-3-279.html
 

Cubist

Still wavin'
Location
Ovver 'thill
All nice bikes, all well specc'd. For my money it would be the Bird 'cos of the wheelsize, and the 142x12 back end. Fork is great too. They are also confident in the frame with its lifetime transferable warranty, and they are pretty niche. They seem to know what they are doing in the UK market. The Manitou might put me off the Vitus, but I've never ridden a bike with one on. The Reba and Revelation on the Parkwood and Canyon are awesome too, and they've all got 615 brakes except the Canyon. Not much to choose between any of them from spec sheets .
 

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
My advice, surprisingly, is not to buy the bike I've just bought, although you could do worse for £900.

What I will say is get a bike with a granny ring.

My mate Chris the mountain biking bike mechanic is about the fittest bloke I know.

If anyone could manage with 2X10 or 1X11, it's him.

But he always specs a granny ring.

The reason is that granny has enabled him to keep going in difficult conditions when other riders without one have come to a stop.
 
I like the esoteric styling of the Bird, though I'm never overly keen on that reinforcing bridge at the top of the seat post. Canyon styling is a bit unsubtle, I've never liked it. Spec wise it's all good so it's what appeals. As for 1x10 or 2x10, just make sure it has the range you need including for moments when you're not as fit as you were. I think I used my inner ring for the first time at Llandegla last week but I've been off the bike for 12 months so it was no surprise, normally I wouldn't need it.

Edit: The Bird doesn't have a one by 10 choice on that model anyhow
 
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razer17

Guest
The Manitou might put me off the Vitus, but I've never ridden a bike with one on. The Reba and Revelation on the Parkwood and Canyon are awesome too, and they've all got 615 brakes except the Canyon. Not much to choose between any of them from spec sheets .
The revelation is the only reason I was still considering the Parkwood, but I think I'm down to the Canyon and Bird now.

The major difference is the Reba vs the Velvet. The Reba is 30mm less travel. The canyon is a hundred quid less, mind.
I like the esoteric styling of the Bird, though I'm never overly keen on that reinforcing bridge at the top of the seat post. Canyon styling is a bit unsubtle, I've never liked it.
The Canyon is probably my favourite in terms of look, though the Bird really isn't far behind. Maybe I'm just a loutish twenty something, though.
 
The Canyon is probably my favourite in terms of look, though the Bird really isn't far behind. Maybe I'm just a loutish twenty something, though.
The Canyon is also the most XC oriented of the ones you've listed and the Bird is much more a trail bike, more stable steering, thru axles, 140 forks. Given your op, I'd have thought the Bird fitted your needs more. I don't know your size but Canyon always drop from 29" to 27.5 wheels on the smallest size.

27.5" feels closer to a 26" bike in handling than it does to a 29er, that may be a consideration too.
 

Heigue'r

Über Member
Thats a tough choice! ! Between the two I couldnt pick as this is exactly where i am at, the exact same bikes.that or a cotic build which is very very appealing,looking forward to seeing which you get, id imagine you wouldn't be disappointed either way
 
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razer17

Guest
The Canyon is also the most XC oriented of the ones you've listed and the Bird is much more a trail bike, more stable steering, thru axles, 140 forks. Given your op, I'd have thought the Bird fitted your needs more. I don't know your size but Canyon always drop from 29" to 27.5 wheels on the smallest size.

27.5" feels closer to a 26" bike in handling than it does to a 29er, that may be a consideration too.
Being nearly 6"2, probably not going to plump for the smallest size. I have tried 29ers, and they can be a little difficult to force through tight turns. Haven't tried 27.5", but I'm hoping it's best of both worlds as the marketing bluff would have me believe.
Thats a tough choice! ! Between the two I couldnt pick as this is exactly where i am at, the exact same bikes.that or a cotic build which is very very appealing,looking forward to seeing which you get, id imagine you wouldn't be disappointed either way
The cotics are in a slightly different price class to the Canyon and Bird, though, aren't they?

As for my choice, think I'm going to go with the Bird. As has been said, it's more of a trail bike than the Canyon, and has the lifetime warranty and being able to support a small, new British company is cool too.

Though, the exhaust on my non pedal bike packed in today, so I will have to hold off till I know how much that will set me back.
 

Cubist

Still wavin'
Location
Ovver 'thill
My advice, surprisingly, is not to buy the bike I've just bought, although you could do worse for £900.

What I will say is get a bike with a granny ring.

My mate Chris the mountain biking bike mechanic is about the fittest bloke I know.

If anyone could manage with 2X10 or 1X11, it's him.

But he always specs a granny ring.

The reason is that granny has enabled him to keep going in difficult conditions when other riders without one have come to a stop.
But you can have the advantages of a 1x10 and a bail out granny. Simply fit a ghost granny without a front mech, and if your 1x setup won't get you up a steep bit, hand shift the chain to the granny ring. 20 odd grammes of 24 or 22t cog ain't gonna make much difference. Obviously only works with a converted triple or double setup, not a dedicated 1x Crankset, and you can't do this with a front chain device, but if you have a narrow wide ring and clutch mech, you don't need one anyway.
 
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razer17

Guest
The Bird has a 24/38 front and 11-36 rear, so I think I should be pretty sorted for gear ratios. The Birds the one I've decided on, now I just have the horrible wait till I can order the thing.
 

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
But you can have the advantages of a 1x10 and a bail out granny. Simply fit a ghost granny without a front mech, and if your 1x setup won't get you up a steep bit, hand shift the chain to the granny ring. 20 odd grammes of 24 or 22t cog ain't gonna make much difference. Obviously only works with a converted triple or double setup, not a dedicated 1x Crankset, and you can't do this with a front chain device, but if you have a narrow wide ring and clutch mech, you don't need one anyway.
Changing a chain manually seems daft when the idea is to keep moving, but as I say, I don't profess to understand mountain biking.

It does remind me of something similar I saw years ago.

A mountain biker offered to guide me around what was probably a fairly low level trail.

We came across what was - to me - a really steep bit, so I stopped.

He stopped, and told me he would demonstrate his new piece of kit.

His bike already had a triple, but he had fitted a tiny fourth ring, which I recall he called either a ghost or shadow ring.

From memory, it was manual shift.

Off he went, spinning as fast as he could, but not really getting anywhere.

It appeared to me the gear was so low it was difficult for even an experienced cyclist to use it and maintain balance.

"Useless" was his verdict.
 

Cubist

Still wavin'
Location
Ovver 'thill
Changing a chain manually seems daft when the idea is to keep moving, but as I say, I don't profess to understand mountain biking.

It does remind me of something similar I saw years ago.

A mountain biker offered to guide me around what was probably a fairly low level trail.

We came across what was - to me - a really steep bit, so I stopped.

He stopped, and told me he would demonstrate his new piece of kit.

His bike already had a triple, but he had fitted a tiny fourth ring, which I recall he called either a ghost or shadow ring.

From memory, it was manual shift.

Off he went, spinning as fast as he could, but not really getting anywhere.

It appeared to me the gear was so low it was difficult for even an experienced cyclist to use it and maintain balance.

"Useless" was his verdict.
A lot of new bikes now come with SRAM 1x11 setups. With the closer ratios available and bigger cassettes, you can have the gear extremes more or less the same as a compact XC double. Downhillers have used 1x for years, but then you don't need any climbing gears on a downhill bike.

SRAM have been leading this for a couple of years, with 32, 34 or 36t front and 10-40 cassettes. OK, your biggest gear is a bit lower but not many leisure riders want or need a 35mph top gear. and the advantages of a 300g or so weight loss, from mech, shifter and cables, plus simplicity, plus the added bar space for dropper remotes means it has become a popular option for a lot of riders.

Off road, many bikes needed some sort of chain retention device, as a bike descending over rough ground will suffer chainslap, chainsuck and chainjump unless the chain is held in place by a tensioner and/or a top guide. To mitigate this the manufacturers added a clutch mech into the mix. The mech spring was reinforced when required by a clutch mechanism which prevented the chainslap, keeping the chain taut. To overcome chainjump or loss the front ring was given a "narrow-wide" profile, the teeth having a varying width machined into the profile effectively binding the chain in place. This now means that the bike no longer needs a chain device or tensioner.

Aftermarket suppliers soon cottoned onto the popularity/advantages of 1x. Without all those ugly tensioners and chain devices bikes looked cleaner, were lighter and simpler without front mechs. Riders with quads of steel were soon converting their triple or double setups by removing the front mech, outer and inner rings and adding clutch mechs and narrow wide front rings. It was pretty common to see 10 speed bikes with 30, 32, 34 or 36t n/w chainrings mated with 11-36 cassettes. This setup is great over most terrain, but the climbing gear became an issue. Unless you were a riding god, even a 30x36 gear is a bit hard on a lot of climbs. You either became a stand-up climbing monster, or you got off and pushed up the steepest bits. A 30x11 soon spins out on a level or downhill bridleway or fire road.

The next development for the leisure rider was the extender cassette cog. Available in 40 or 42 teeth this is placed onto the freehub before the cassette is fitted, then you remove the 15t or 17t cog. Great for climbing, 30-42 is more or less the same gear as a 22t granny on a 36 cassette. A bit lumpy with a jump from 13t to 17, or 15-19, this can be smoothed out a bit with an aftermarket 16t cog in place of both the 15 and the 17.

My Ibis currently has a 32t narrow wide front ring, and a 10 speed 11-42 rear cassette and a clutch mech. I get off and push occasionally, but no more so than when I had a 24-36 bottom gear.
 

Cubist

Still wavin'
Location
Ovver 'thill
I almost forgot the bit about the ghost granny. You can have the clean lines and uncluttered benefits of a single ring without the expense of an expander cog, on your converted double or triple setup, by leaving the granny ring in place. Without a front mech you need to shift it by hand, and of course you have to stop to do it, but it may be that you only occasionally have to deal with a steep climb. It's a bail-out option rather than a regular use thing. If you use it a lot you're better off with a double.
 

w00hoo_kent

One of the 64K
I was very taken with the KTM 1964 when I saw it at the NEC last year. As pretty much a novice to dirt on a bicycle, I'd be interested where people felt it sat with the four mentioned here? Pretty but just that, or worthwhile contender?
 
@Cubist you think those clutch mechs are worth a standard triple setup? I seem to get more slap on the Kinesis, possibly because the back end is pretty rigid. The Shimano mech has a switch though, which demands a conscious decision and I also read it stiffens the change a lot.
 
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