[rant]Modern mountain bikes[/rant]

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Sac Arrow, Jan 7, 2023.

  1. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I got a bike the other day. A road bike. I've been pretty much road exclusive since 2012 when my nice Raleigh mountain bike from more than ten years earlier succumbed to stress corrosion cracking to its aluminum frame.

    I liked that bike. It was fairly light. It ran 26" x 2.1" tires (presta valve), had a great front suspension, and was just a perfect all around bike for back trails, sand, muck, and whatever, and you could ride it all day.

    In the bike store, they had a lot of mountain bike offerings. They were all MASSIVELY HEAVY. With ENORMOUS tires. Enormous heavy tires. Kind of like the strictly downhill MTB offerings of two decades ago. Not something you want to pedal uphill. Even the $$$$$$ carbon frame MTB's are the same way.

    It's precisely the reason why I wouldn't buy a modern mountain bike. The Other Person owned a steel framed Diamondback from the early '90's, which unfortunately was stolen. To me, that was one of the most perfect mountain bikes. Lifetime frame. Indestructible. Not heavy at all, and FAR lighter than modern aluminum frames.

    What gives?

    Oh the road bike. A 2023* Cervelo 22 Caledonia with Shimano wireless DI2 shifters, hydraulic disc brakes, and about the best straight pull spoke wheelset you will get in an aluminum rim. I really wanted carbon but I can always swap that out later. What is on there is pretty nice plus it can still trip traffic light sensors. Sometimes.

    *Edit - 2023, not 2013
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2023
  2. texasclouds

    texasclouds En-Route

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    Nice rant. I’m still rocking my Trek Alfa 4100 hard tail.
     
  3. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That is very similar to my former Raleigh M60 mountain bike. I wish I still had it but unfortunately, aluminum is not a lifetime frame material.

    The problem with aluminum is that it can't be designed to flex. Well obviously our airplane wings flex but not like a bike frame. Modern aluminum frame bikes are generally so stout they weigh a ton.
     
  4. IK04

    IK04 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Somewhere about ten years ago, they came up with this new concept called a "gravel bike."

    It's what I would call a hybrid, with slightly large, but lightweight wheels and 700cX43 or so tires...

    My new Trek carbon bike is super light and rides like a rock, but it has climbing gears, so weight is not really an issue.

    Oh yeah, the average $2500 decent bike is now a $4200 bike. Yeesh!

    EDIT: Steel Is Real!
     
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  5. Hang 4

    Hang 4 Pattern Altitude

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    Was going to suggest Gravel bike as well. Basically a cyclocross bike that leans more to road geometry. Oh and nothing wrong with your local bike shop, but they tend to stock to a lowest common denominator. That tends to heavy, big tires and stupid saddles on bikes that will be ridden once if ever.
     
  6. FastEddieB

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    Interesting. This is my current road bike, an aluminum 2013 Cannondale Synapse:

    [​IMG]

    It sure looks like the seatstays are curved to provide some flex, combined with flattened chainstays to allow some flexibility as well. Nothing like real suspension, but I must assume it’s designed that way to soften the ride a bit. And at 22 lbs or so, it’s far from the lightest out there, but not what I would call heavy.
     
  7. NoBShere

    NoBShere Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I started mt biking in the early 90’s. Today’s mountain bikes are light years ahead of what was available then. No idea what you’re looking at but, I would guess you’re in the wrong place.

    Now ebikes, they are what is wrong with this world!
     

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  8. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I never quite got the point of eBikes - until 2 friends got them and I had a chance to try them out. To keep up with them I found a used Aventon Aventure:

    [​IMG]

    I really enjoy riding it. At 60 lbs or so it’s a beast, but I can select as much or as little assist as suits my mood. Rides are more fun and less of a struggle on hills. They do have their place.
     
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  9. NoBShere

    NoBShere Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I was being sarcastic. I’m a huge proponent of people enjoying the outdoors.
     
  10. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I got back into cycling this year after a 25yr layoff. I chose a Specialized Crux Comp, a drop bar gravel bike that I’m using as an endurance road bike. So far so good, but I’m finding that on faster road rides I’m running out of gear. Like most new Mountain and gravel bikes (and even some road) it’s a 1x chainring, so it’s a 1x11, and my top gear is 40 x 11.

    I love the frame, so I’ll soon be going down the road of re-doing the drivetrain. I’m thinking SRAM etap force with a 33/46 front and a 10-36 12sp cassette.
     
  11. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Road bikes don't have much concern for going off of 2' drops or being slammed into tree roots every ride. The frame has to be beefier, and the front and rear suspension have to be stout, tires larger/wider with puncture resistant tread. All of those things add weight. My XC (Trek Superfly FS8) mountain bike isn't too heavy, but it's not going to win any downhill contests against bikes with 140+mm travel. If money were no object I'd have something like the Trek TopFuel bikes which are carbon and have amazing suspensions that I'd have no ability to get the most out of, lol. I'm not willing to drop $4K for those, either.
     
  12. IK04

    IK04 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Yep. My Trek FX Sport 5 Carbon has that exact same setup 1X11 with a 40 tooth chainring. Before I ever rode it, I bought a 42 tooth ring, believing I would run out of gear. I am just now to the point where I have gotten accustomed to the bike and I really like the close ratio Shimano GRX groupset, so I will probably install the bigger chainring to move the gears up a sprocket or two an get a higher top gear.

    I picked this bike for beating the hill climbs necessary for my riding routine, since I live on a hill. The lowest gear is a 40X42, so I am less than 1:1 for climbing. I'm not sure I can even pedal that fast, but hey, I can finally get up those steep *** roads without traversing!
     
  13. TCABM

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    Mountain bikes have evolved to more full suspension downhill machines or are following the non-suspension obese tire fad. The straight-bar hybrid bikes are a tire-swap away from a simple, light off-road bike.

    The Caledonia w/di2 is on my super short list addition this year. My current ride is a full carbon frame/fork Giant that’s been around since 98 or 99. I found out this past year I would really like a tenth rear sprocket for climbing and by the time I spring for all that, I’m most of the way to the Caledonia.

    Is it really as comfortable for long rides as reviewers say it is?
     
  14. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's pretty comfortable but I have yet to put a decent ride on it (crappy WX.) The rear sprocket is actually a 12 speed, with an 11 34 cassette. The front is 52 36 which gives it pretty close to a 1:1 ratio in the lowest gear. My Tarmac has an 11 28 cassette, which limits its climbing ability. The other thing is that the disc brakes are huge - I've done a couple mountain descents in Napa where I simply didn't have enough braking, period, on the Tarmac, as to where I had to actually zig zag on the downhill. That's a non issue with disc brakes.

    Electric shifting is fairly standard in all of the class of bikes I was looking at. I kind of consider it a gimmick, but it's growing on me. The weight penalty is fairly minimal, and there's no (I think) periodic adjustments since there is no cable stretch.

    I wish it shipped with better wheels than it came with, but the straight pull DT Swiss wheelset is about as good as you're going to get short of a decent carbon wheelset. I can upgrade later I guess. It's still better than the ten year old Mavic Krysriums I ran on my Tarmac, which was actually a pretty good wheelset.

    Okay that is a separate rant in itself - the Mavic wheelset. I got it on Ebay for cheap shortly after I got the Tarmac, and it basically made it a whole new bike. I can't complain too much, I got nearly 35,000 miles of service out of them. Then, a couple weeks ago, I broke a rear spoke about a mile from home. I was able to limp home. No problem - I'll just take the rear wheel to the LBS and they will throw a new spoke on it right?

    Wrong. Mavic stopped making those wheels, and the spokes for them. LBS suggested I try Ebay. I tried Ebay and everywhere else. I was able to find spokes, just not rear drive side spokes, which was what broke. I could not find rear drive side spokes because those are the only spokes that break. I ended up going to another LBS specializing in older bikes, and ended up putting on an intact set of used beater Mavic rims of a slightly newer generation. It's basically now a backup bike, so I'm not too worried about breaking more spokes although I can tell two have already been replaced. The bottom line is Mavic is on my s**t list, and I wouldn't have put another set on my old bike but it was the best they could do me. The other choices were much older J spoke loose bearing wheels.
    9D48B472-1A4A-46DC-91C8-2B2A4B50B0FB.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2023
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  15. IK04

    IK04 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I put a nice set of Schwalbe 35s on my bike before I ever rode it. The weird, puffy 43s that came with the bike looked completely unsuitable for road use...
     
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  16. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Right, my lowest gear is a 40x42 as well, which is .95:1, good for climbing. I need to maintain a sub 1:1 climbing gear as our hills aren't long, but some are steep. I did a 3mi 10% climb Tuesday, and even with the 40x42 it was a *****. (At least at my present fitness level)

    I like the SRAM x-range gearsets, with the set I'm looking at my top gear would go from a 40x11 to a 46x10, or about 4.6:1. That's maybe a hair short of road bike top gearing, but close enough. On the bottom, I'd have a 33x36, which is a .91:1, so I'd still have a good climbing gear as well. Sounds good to me.
     
  17. TCABM

    TCABM En-Route

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    Thanks. I’ve asked my Cervelo shop to let me know when they get a Caledonia in (new or used) to go for a test spin. I’m also considering Giant Defy series bikes.

    I’m resigned to electronic shifting going forward, but seems like a lot of handlebars today won’t allow a computer and a headlight, so that’s next of my list of stuff to learn about.
     
  18. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The Caledonia has conventional bars and seatpost so computers and lights are a non-issue. It has a slot in the front bar bracket and an adapter kit so you can mount a Garmin device forward of the bars. The problem with it is that it is only held on by a single small screw. You can however get aftermarket front clamps that have an integrated Garmin mount which are pretty slick, as well as bar mount adapters that have the same functionality. I've run a Cateye cycle computer on my two previous bikes. They are nice for a heads up speed and distance reading, but for everything else I use a Strava iphone app to record and log the ride. I don't plan on putting another Cateye on the bike, but I may well get a Garmin GPS to give me heads up speed and distance, and navigational mapping is a big plus too.

    For lighting, I just run cheapie white flashers for the front and red flashers for the back that run off of watch batteries just for visibility in the darkness. If you want something that will actually light up your path, look for something in the 10,000 lumen range (that's what the guy at the bike shop recommended.) They are actually pretty light weight these days with LED bulbs and lithium ion batteries. I don't do much night riding other than an occasional pre-dawn start.
     
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  19. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    For computer/GPS I’m so far very happy with the Hammerhead Karoo II. Very legible, even for old eyes, and loading routes is s snap.
     
  20. PaulS

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    Ooooooh, you gonna go fast!
     
  21. TCABM

    TCABM En-Route

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    Good to know
    I’ve run Cateye comps forever side by side garmin forerunners for maps and other data until Strava and ride with gps. I kind of prefer ride with gps for navigation.

    I tend to geek out over data, so I want to be able overlay stuff like gear selections with grade, heart rate, and watts but that’s just the repressed triathlete in me. It’s not like I’m able to capitalize on that knowledge in real time, but I’d like to be able to see it all in real time.
     
  22. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    This thread cost me money. Some jackoff ran over my road bike while it was mounted on a hitch carrier. Can't get the bike in the configuration I had. This thread reminded me to order a frameset to recreate the destroyed bike.
     
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  23. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I’m almost thinking of buying a minivan so the bikes can ride inside where they’re safe and secure
     
  24. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've always had some form of truck based SUV or pickup with camper shell on it but not currently. I can transport a bike in the Sentra with the seat folded and the front wheel off. A minivan would work, but... it's a minivan.
     
  25. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I do have a truck with a bike rack in the bed, but I also drive an ungodly number of miles each year so I have a daily driver for the commute. Most of my biking is after work, so the bike has to travel on the daily driver.
     
  26. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Lol I drive the largest production SUV ever made and I still use a Kuat hitch-mounted bike rack. I don't want to mess with pull tires off or getting the interior covered in mud after a ride on the trails.
     
  27. IK04

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    Today's ride (LNX GUY on Strava) was a real eye opener for me. This was my fourth ride on the Trek and I have run out of gears. I have worked out the necessary adjustments to the shifting and gotten used to the short top tube, so I have become more comfortable and much faster! I really like the close ratio shifting with the 11-42 cassette, but there is a gap between the top three gears that I hope will change when I replace the 40T chainwheel with the 42T.

    Before I ever rode this bike, I bought a bigger chainwheel, anticipating that I would run out of gear at top speed. Yep. I'll be putting that on before the next ride. I do prefer the single gear to a 2X11 or 3X9, or whatever. I can feel the pulsations coming from that 11 tooth sprocket and it bothers me. The 42T will get me up at least two sprockets and put me back into the close ratios that make this configuration so nice.

    I almost bought one of those Cervelos with all the electronic shifting and hydraulic brakes at a bike shop in Austin, but I chickened out, due to the price equaling almost three mortgage payments...

    I did the road from Cherokee, NC to the Appalachian Trail Gap on the Tennessee border (US 441) on a bike with only eight gears, so all this high tech stuff is sorta cool and mostly necessary, since I am old and decrepit now. :cool:
     
  28. aftCG

    aftCG Line Up and Wait

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    Going through a divorce?
     
  29. aftCG

    aftCG Line Up and Wait

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    Fat tire mountain bikes were originally meant for down hill. Like, ride the chair lift at a ski area off season and ride down.
    On anything other than flat ground they were a tank.

    e-bikes are, well, e-bikes. No question they get average people out on the bike path. They're fine until you run out of "e", when they become a 60 lb bike. They are also ridiculously expensive. I've owned many great motorcycles that I didn't pay that kind of money for.

    I would actually love some kind of trials weight e bike that hauled serious a** when appropriate. You can keep the pedals and skip the "assist" punchline
     
  30. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I went through a bitter divorce with the company Ford Explorer when it smashed in to another car. Long story, but I ended up replacing it on my own dime. Just not with another Ford Explorer.
     
  31. TCABM

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    Nolanville hill?
     
  32. FastEddieB

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    The top line ebikes can certainly get into nosebleed territory. But “entry level” ebikes can be had new for less than $2,000. Compromises are certainly made, but they can still be a hoot to ride.
     
  33. Hang 4

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    @Bill and @IK04 Think you are both running up against the limits of a 1X on the road, particularly if you are in hilly territory. The weight of the rear Cassette gears needed really offset the minor added complexity of having 2 chainrings. On gravel full time, there's some benefit and you see the guys that race gravel running 1X. Not trying to be critical of your choices, just pointing out the limitations.

    It's nice having my 52X11 when the wind is at my back and I want to put the hammer down. I can also throw a 39 on the inner side if I am out of FL and in hills.
     
  34. Sac Arrow

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    Cannondale seems to be able to pull off aluminum road frames better than the others. They do use 6069 alloy, which is more fatigue resistant than 6061 which is more commonly used in bike frames. I did test ride one once, and it felt harsh to me. But that was an earlier generation, without carbon forks.
     
  35. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I don't think I've ever used 52x11 on a level road, and normally on a steep enough grade where I would use it, I'm coasting or braking anyway.
     
  36. IK04

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    What's kinda funny is that the fastest time I have done on my regular workout loop was on my single speed bike. No gears at all...
     
  37. Sac Arrow

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    An update on the Cervelo, I've finally been able to start riding again now that the WX has finally let up. I did a Burger Ride on Tuesday, and a 22 miler today. The whole time I'm thinking 'I could do this all day long.' Usually somewhere around mile 15 or so I find myself standing just to give my *** a rest, and to stretch out. I didn't find myself doing that.