Which bike/fork and why?

lulubel

Über Member
Location
Malaga, Spain
I have a fairly flexible budget for the new MTB, although (like everyone) I want to get as much bike as I can while spending as little money as possible, so I have a number of possibilities (in order of price, lowest to highest):

Canyon Yellowstone 5.0W
Giant Arete
Canyon Grand Canyon AL 7.0W

The first one falls into "sensible amount to pay for a bike" category, but it has Rock Shox Recon forks (I wanted Reba). It's also 12.5kg, which is only 1kg lighter than my current bike, and since it has much more expensive kit on it, I'm guessing the frame is pretty heavy. But it's nice and small - 550mm top tube in the XS size.

The 3rd one (I'll stick with Canyon for now) is the most expensive and a bit "ouch". It has DT Swiss XRM 100 forks, which I've never heard of, but presumably they're good at that price. It's light, it's got nice kit on it, but the frame size is a bit bigger than the Yellowstone - 565mm top tube in XS. (I really wanted the AL 6.0, which I think is the same frame, but they don't have a women's version of it, so it's only available down to the S frame size, which will definitely be too big for me.)

The Giant is the bike I would build if I was building it myself. It's small - 540mm top tube - it has Reba forks, the chainrings and cassette are exactly what I'd choose, and a saddle that I probably won't have to change (I don't get on with Selle Italia). But I can only buy it from a UK retailer, which means I will need an acceptable UK payment method, and my accident compensation is in Euros in Spain (and I don't have a Spanish credit card). Basically, this will delay things rather a lot, and I'm seriously lacking in patience.

The other option would be to build something up around a (possibly Kinesis) frame, but I know from experience that I'd end up spending at least £900 if I did that, and it would take me as long as getting the Giant would.

Any thoughts?

The Yellowstone is obviously lower spec than the others, but it's also significantly cheaper. Will I notice much difference in how it rides compared to the more expensive bikes? (I took my OH's MTB out today, even though it's a bit big for me, to see how the unused forks felt, and the difference between my cheap, knackered forks and her cheap, not-knackered forks was like night and day. Having done a bit of MTBing now, I would have prefered something more subtle, though - if subtle is a good choice of word.)

How do the Grand Canyon I linked to and the Giant compare in terms of spec? Obviously, the Giant was a lot more expensive at full price, but I know Canyons are very highly specced for the money.

My gut is telling me to wait and get the Giant (and hope it stays in stock), but it would be good to hear other people's views.
 

Cubist

Still wavin'
Location
Ovver 'thill
You've been doing some research!

Three main considerations here from an outsider's point of view.

That Yellowstone is "heavy" because of the crankset and wheels. The fork is good, but as you say, not a patch on the Reba. There's nothing wrong with the frame. You could buy it and upgrade it to the spec you want, ie swap the fork for a Reba if you really can't get on with it, and upgrade the crankset to SLX. The Reba fork can be had for £200 or so if you shop around, and a 9 speed SLX chainset will cost you about £90 from hibike/actionsports etc etc. You'd get just under half of that back by reselling the Recon and the Deore crankset. Seems like a bit of buggering about, but worth it if the frame is what you need and what suits you. I suspect though that you have tried to go for "sensible" which the Yellowstone is, but you think there's better out there for your needs and wants.

The Grand Canyon is lovely. Seriously lovely, and that fork is great. It has singleshot damping, so although it's light and bling, it won't be quite as tuneable as a Reba. The rest of the spec is great, and the sub11kg weight is pretty competitive. Brakes, wheels and drivetrain are all quality kit.

The Giant ticks all of your boxes as you've said. The downside is the wait, but otherwise I reckon you'd have pressed the button by now. The spec is great (with the exception of the wheels.... I don't like Deore hubs, no excuse for cup and cone in this day and age!!!!) Another reason I think you haven't bought it yet is because it doesn't feel very "lulubel" , it's a wee bit too mainstream.

How about the fourth way? Buy the giant, strip it of its parts and stick them on a Maxlight frame. Longwinded, but you get the bike you want, with the pleasure and reward of building it yourself, and you can save up for a bling wheelset (did someone say Hope Pro11 on Stans crest rims???)

Spec up a Kinesis, based on £275 frame, £200 fork, £200 SLX 3x10 groupset, £110 slx brakes, Superstar wheelset £200, headset, bars seatpost, stem, .... sorry, can't do it as cheaply as using the Giant as a donor.
 

RecordAceFromNew

Swinging Member
Location
West London
Actually I don't like the Giant. It has heavy wheels and tyres. I would be surprised if it doesn't weigh the same if not more than 12.5kg, which might be a bit disappointing if you have to spend 900 notes for it. Additionally IME Giants don't usually have 27.2mm seatposts, so don't count on using that either on a Maxlight. IMHO it is not going to be a satisfactory donor.

For transplants (which I agree could make economic sense as Cubist rightly suggested) it is always worth comparing head tube length in case you are forced to end up having lower bars at best and running out of steerer at worst. The same goes for chain stay length with respect to chain length. It is also worth checking seat tube diameter. A 31.8mm front mech might not go on a 34.9mm seat tube.

Because the Giant is obsolete, it could be a bit hard to find some specific dimensions.

Personally I wouldn't worry about the groupset level too much. Wheels, tyres and forks will have greater "ride" return on £ invested, but most important of all it has to fit, so it is worth checking dimensions carefully with what you already have if you have to buy online.
 
OP
lulubel

lulubel

Über Member
Location
Malaga, Spain
All good comments, guys, and lots of interesting points. A couple of specific things ....

The Giant ticks all of your boxes as you've said. The downside is the wait, but otherwise I reckon you'd have pressed the button by now. The spec is great (with the exception of the wheels.... I don't like Deore hubs, no excuse for cup and cone in this day and age!!!!)
I really don't care about the wheels. I probably should because I'm paying for them, but I don't because they're the easiest upgrade and one of the most noticeable changes. Plus, my understanding is that, with probably a few exceptions, manufacturers don't put wheels on their bikes that match the standard of the rest of the components. Basically, I expect to destroy the stock wheels and then replace them, and if I don't, I'm pleasantly surprised.

Actually I don't like the Giant. It has heavy wheels and tyres. I would be surprised if it doesn't weigh the same if not more than 12.5kg, which might be a bit disappointing if you have to spend 900 notes for it. Additionally IME Giants don't usually have 27.2mm seatposts, so don't count on using that either on a Maxlight. IMHO it is not going to be a satisfactory donor.
Useful, thanks. I was never really thinking of the Giant as a donor, but there was always a question mark over it because Giant refuse to tell buyers how much their bikes weigh. (Although weight definitely isn't everything. The Surly is 700g heavier than my old Trek, and I saw an increase of 1.5mph on my average speeds from the day I first sat on it.)

So .... I've been doing some more research and reading, and I'm going to throw another spanner in the works. Should I think about a full suss? I know I'd be looking at more money (the difference between the Grand Canyon and the equivalent Nerve XC is about £350), but if I'm spending nearly a grand in the first place, I'd rather spend a bit more if that's what I have to do to get the right bike.

My reasons for asking this are because a full suss is suggested in the book GregCollins recommended in my "Falling Off" thread, for everything but the smoothest trails, and also I've noticed there seem to be quite a few women on another forum switching from HT to FS and saying they handle much better over the rough stuff and are much more confidence inspiring on the descents. I'm always going to be a cautious descender - I'm the same on the road - so I figure I need all the help I can get! I am aware that FS saps your power on the climbs, but MTBing has already encouraged me to develop a more efficient pedalling technique, and for around £1300 I can get a FS that's significantly lighter than my current HT, so I can't imagine climbing will feel any harder.
 

GrumpyGregry

Here for rides.
Canyon Nerve XC's are love-er-ly bikes. boing-boing.

Though in all seriousness I've not gone further than the local woods on mine yet.

And I can't imagine a world in which I wouldn't own and ride a racy HT XC-er....

As to patience and the Giant. Can't you get someone in here to do the deal for you and ship you the bike?
 

Cubist

Still wavin'
Location
Ovver 'thill
Another possibility! To be fair, a full-suss bike was a real revelation to me. I came from a racy hardtail that was nervous and clattery on descents, onto a FS 140mm travel susser, and the difference in confidence was enormous. I've got another slacker hardtail now, but if I was forced to own just one off road bike I would have to go FS, simply because sometimes I want the bike to do a bit of the work.

Given the sort of riding you have described, I think the Nerve XC would be a great idea. It has everything you have listed in terms of kit, (there is precious little difference betwen Reba and SID these days, if anything SID are racier).

11.95 kg is astonishing, and the XS frame option is there. In terms of VFM it's the best on the table so far. And you can pay in euros.

Are you the kind of girl who'd choose rawberry, given the colour of that rocker arm??? ^_^
 

RecordAceFromNew

Swinging Member
Location
West London
I am pretty sure I have opined here for some time that I no longer see any point in owning a hardtail. My full susser is just over 11kg - it is not lighter only because I consider carbon mtb oxymoron for Joe Public like me. There are plenty of rear shocks with lockout nowadays, and if your's hasn't there is nothing to stop you upping the pressure before the ride if it is an air shock. If cost is not a big issue and you are not racing and you don't want/need a fleet it is imho the logical single mtb to have.
 
OP
lulubel

lulubel

Über Member
Location
Malaga, Spain
Another possibility! To be fair, a full-suss bike was a real revelation to me. I came from a racy hardtail that was nervous and clattery on descents, onto a FS 140mm travel susser, and the difference in confidence was enormous. I've got another slacker hardtail now, but if I was forced to own just one off road bike I would have to go FS, simply because sometimes I want the bike to do a bit of the work.
Clattery is a really good word. I was trying to think of a word to describe how the back end of the bike was behaving yesterday once the front end felt more comfortable, and clattery is it. Once the fork was smoothing the bumps and rebounding nicely (well, rebounding with a bit too much enthusiasm, actually, but I put that down to my low weight), I started taking things a bit faster, and then I noticed the back wheel was going all over the place. I was in my best approximation of attack position - which probably needs work, but I'm improving - so I didn't have all my weight plonked on it like a sack of spuds, but the way it was behaving didn't feel terribly confidence inspiring.

If a FS means the back wheel will spend more time gripping the terrain rather than clattering over it, I think it will be worth the money.
 

Cubist

Still wavin'
Location
Ovver 'thill
If the terrain is as you describe, then the added grip will be revelatory. Can I add skittish to the descriptors?

I think you'll love the change over. Unless you want bragging rights on Halifax based websites, or want to race Xc, then there is no reason to favour a hardtail for leisure riding.
 

billflat12

Über Member
Location
cheshire
OP
lulubel

lulubel

Über Member
Location
Malaga, Spain
I know boardmans may not have the same appeal, but just look at the spec below, maybe a simple change of bars&stem with a female specific seat.would help make these female friendly for your budget .
Nice thought, but might be tricky to get them to Spain.

I think you'll love the change over. Unless you want bragging rights on Halifax based websites, or want to race Xc, then there is no reason to favour a hardtail for leisure riding.
I think I've been behind the times here for quite a while. Until very recently - yesterday, in fact - I was still living with the belief that a hardtail was the only choice for leisure riders, and you had to be a serious MTBer to ride a full suss. I really must try and keep up!
 

billflat12

Über Member
Location
cheshire
Full suspension keeps me out of trouble but "Hardtails are more fun" ,( as are older steel rigid mtb,s. but keeping a line,changing gear or braking with cati,s on a black run can be a challenge :ohmy: ) hardtails are great for beginners simply because they have more feel ( ie.you instantly know what the back end gets up to.......... " usually a quality bike will feel great an handle well too")
leisure rides to me means fun , if you compete then you may need serious kit, overall try not to get too carried away , just be honest with yourself as to the type of riding you really want to do and try to demo / hire a few quality bikes first before you blow any budget .,
 
OP
lulubel

lulubel

Über Member
Location
Malaga, Spain
leisure rides to me means fun , if you compete then you may need serious kit, overall try not to get too carried away , just be honest with yourself as to the type of riding you really want to do and try to demo / hire a few quality bikes first before you blow any budget .,
Fun (to me) means having control over the bike, so I can relax and enjoy the ride, rather than spending most of it thinking, "Oh sh1t, oh sh1t, oh sh1t, I'm going to die." I want to challenge myself, but the reward for challenging myself is getting through a tricky bit and feeling good about how I handled it rather than thinking, "Well, I'm still alive. Not sure how ...."

I googled MTBing in Spain last night, and one of the links was for a holiday company that covers this area. One of the descents I found most difficult (the one where I hesitated to a stop and toppled over!) is on their list of "black trails", so even if they're exaggerating the difficulty level rather, it's still no wonder I found it hard, and shows how I'll definitely benefit from a much better bike if I want to continue riding that trail (which I do because it's part of a lovely loop) and others like it.

I think Lulubel has discovered what her back end gets up to..... and could do with a bit more comfort!
Could do with a bit more padding, actually - padded shorts can only be so thick - but have no plans to put on weight to achieve it.

On that note, my knees have been really suffering lately. I was putting it down to them taking the brunt of the impact in February's crash, but they've been worse since I started MTBing, so using them as suspension can't be helping. Even if there was no other reason, I think that alone justifies the money spent on a full suss (especially since it will be paid for out of the money I've received to compensate me for my injuries).
 

GrumpyGregry

Here for rides.
Fun (to me) means having control over the bike, so I can relax and enjoy the ride, rather than spending most of it thinking, "Oh sh1t, oh sh1t, oh sh1t, I'm going to die." I want to challenge myself, but the reward for challenging myself is getting through a tricky bit and feeling good about how I handled it rather than thinking, "Well, I'm still alive. Not sure how ...."
That won't change with FS, you'll just be travelling faster while you think it.

The last bit, the "Well, I'm still alive. Not sure how ...." doesn't really count unless you wake up and think it from a hospital bed. ;)
 
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