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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Steel mountain bike?

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    I am not buying another bike this year However next year I am considering a mountain bike in the late spring. I know I want steel, outside of that I've a lot of research to do over the winter. I don't want to spend a large amount of money, something that will be a good bike to learn on next summer. I suspect there won't be too many rock gardens in my future next summer, just learning basic mtn biking skills.

    Suggestions in a good beginners steel mountain bike to give me a starting point?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,132
    Before you go too far down this path, I would have a candid conversation with Jonathan--who is an expert MTBer--about whether any of your physical issues, namely your arthritic hands, will be a significant issue for mountain biking. I'm somewhat concerned that they'll be a very limiting factor to your ability to get out of the saddle, jump, hop, etc. My somewaht limited understanding is that it's just.a much more physical discipline.

    Now I say that as a non MTBer, so take it for what it's worth. In the very least, I'd consider renting a MTB before you put moeny on the table for one to make sure it's for you.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  3. #3
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    Nov 2009
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    Good thought, I will do that. I've not had any grip/pain problems at all with my mountain bars - not even when I was on the bike for 6 hours. Of course, that was on the road. I am seeing Jonathan next Friday on another matter.

  4. #4
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    Sep 2006
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    Central Indiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catrin View Post
    Good thought, I will do that. I've not had any grip/pain problems at all with my mountain bars - not even when I was on the bike for 6 hours. Of course, that was on the road. I am seeing Jonathan next Friday on another matter.
    The position and bars themselves won't pose the problem. Having to stand, pull up on the bars, or otherwise maneuver while out of the saddle might, however.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    2,845
    There's usually places with single track that isn't very technical that would still be fun.

    I know gunnar makes steel mountain bikes.Surly's got the instigator or the karate monkey,things like that... Rawlands has a steel frame that can be built up as a mountain bike, but I think the top tube is going to be too long.

    Given the suspension that is on mountain bikes - I don't think it's really necessary to have a steel one instead of an aluminum. If you're planning on riding rigid than it makes more of a difference.

    I would just get a hard tail if I was you - it really requires an investment of a lot of cash to get a lightweight full suspension bike - the cheaper ones are heavy, andI don't see the point pedaling a 30+ bike up obstacles. However, maybe a full suspension would be better for your wrists/hands.

    Do you have friends that you could borrow their mountain bikes for a bit?

    If you want to go further - there's titanium. Litespeed makes nice titanium mountain bikes.

    Marin used to make nice steel frame bikes, you could consider picking up a used marin,probably about a 14" frame.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
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    Bendemonium
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    Why do you want steel?

    If it's is to provide more cushion for your hands, buying an absolutely lush fork like a dual-air Reba is the way to go.
    Frends know gud humors when dey is hear it. ~ Da Crockydiles of ZZE.

  7. #7
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    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by SadieKate View Post
    Why do you want steel?

    If it's is to provide more cushion for your hands, buying an absolutely lush fork like a dual-air Reba is the way to go.
    I hate the aluminum buzz - and I notice it a LOT. So if I get a hard tail like I am thinking then steel would be my choice. I also like steel in general because it can be repaired...so that would probably also be my preference for a FS bike - but I can change my mind on that one. The Karate Monkey, unless I am mistaken, is only a 29er - at my height I think that would be difficult - but time will tell. I will check into the Instigator - hadn't noticed that one before.

    Assuming no physical issues that might keep me from trying out mountain biking, it would be nice to get something good enough to learn on that would last me for a few years without spending big bucks. At this point I would certainly lean towards a hard tail - though Cataboo's point about a full suspension being kinder on my hands is well taken.

    I am still working on the ABC's of cycling, I only have 1,600 miles under my belt and most of that has been since June My skills certainly aren't there, yet, to try it out, but I am thinking about it. I do love long-distance road cycling, but mountain biking also looks like a lot of fun of a very different kind - and NO cars

    Thankfully both my fitter and my personal trainer are both expert mountain bikers - so there is a physical limitation for me eventually trying this they will NOT be shy about telling me

  8. #8
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    Aug 2008
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    Catrin, as someone who really won't ride aluminum on road because my wrists go numb in 2 seconds flat - I don't actually notice aluminum buzz while mountain biking. And that's with not very high end forks. I really think that with a good aluminum mountain bike, you're not going to notice. Yes - steel can be repaired, but usually what ends up broken or messed up on a mountain bike is a rear derailleur hanger, and that's one that is replaceable. And - my bf has aluminum mountain bikes that he's ridden the **** out of that are over 10 years old - I think he's doing way more log hopping, creek hopping, or whatever than you will ever do - and the frames have never needed repair.

  9. #9
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    Nov 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cataboo View Post
    Catrin, as someone who really won't ride aluminum on road because my wrists go numb in 2 seconds flat - I don't actually notice aluminum buzz while mountain biking. And that's with not very high end forks. I really think that with a good aluminum mountain bike, you're not going to notice...
    Cool - this is good information to have, thanks! That certainly does broaden the possibilities

  10. #10
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    Aug 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catrin View Post
    Cool - this is good information to have, thanks! That certainly does broaden the possibilities
    I do use ergon grips on my mountain bike - and generally it's not having a death grip on your handlebars that helps your wrists mountain biking. But in general, mountain biking is just different from road riding - it's very changeable, it's not constantly pedaling and constantly holding the handlebars - on a flat or a downhill, you're not pedaling much or at all, you're just steering the bike. The uphills are steep and rockier, so you're pedaling then.

    This may just be my impression, 'cause I'm not terribly great at mountain biking - but if I pedal on a flat or downhill, I gain too much speed that I can't deal with tight turns or obstacles.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
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    Bendemonium
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    Except for bamboo and wood, I think I've used bikes made from every material and a properly built mtb frame doesn't have aluminum buzz.

    The material of the bars is more important than the material of the frame. For instance, you will find carbon or ti or light aluminum bars to be better than steel bars for reducing buzz. Additionally, the sweep back angle of the bars can be critical to reducing hand/wrist pain. I only use bars with a 9-11 degree sweep due to wrist pain.

    Tire and fork pressure make a big impact.

    Don't get stuck on the material. Focus on design and functionality, and proper pressure.
    Frends know gud humors when dey is hear it. ~ Da Crockydiles of ZZE.

  12. #12
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    Aug 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cataboo View Post
    This may just be my impression, 'cause I'm not terribly great at mountain biking - but if I pedal on a flat or downhill, I gain too much speed that I can't deal with tight turns or obstacles.
    Try looking further ahead!

    I think Irulan said it best once. Something along the lines of "if you learn to brake properly, you'll ride faster." I think she's the one who said it (at least I'll give her the credit) and it's very true - but you have to look ahead and anticipate.
    Last edited by SadieKate; 10-14-2010 at 08:15 AM.
    Frends know gud humors when dey is hear it. ~ Da Crockydiles of ZZE.

  13. #13
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    Aug 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by SadieKate View Post
    Try looking further ahead!

    I think Irulan said it best once. Something along the lines of "if you learn to brake properly, you'll ride faster." I think she's the one who said it (at least I'll give her the credit) and it's very true - but you have to look ahead and anticipate.
    I'm working on it - way faster than I used to be.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,738
    Salsa! I love mine.... I also second the suggestion for handlebars with 10* of sweep or more.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
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    the dry side
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cataboo View Post
    I'm working on it - way faster than I used to be.
    well its like this... if you are riding so fast that you are having a hard time slowing down for obstacles, sevaral things can happen.

    1. Brake check that turns into an endo. If you are at a speed that you can do controlled/modulated braking at, you'll be much less likely to do a brake check (which can easily turn into an endo)

    2. Braking from too high a speed approaching a corner creates brake bumps in the trail. These suck; they are like washboards on a dirt road. You can tell a trail that has too many beginners and/or out of control riders on it by the braking bumps. As a trail builder I get annoyed by this.

    If you need ideas how to develop your braking and speed control skills there is a wealth of knowledge with the riders here.
    Last edited by Irulan; 10-14-2010 at 03:48 PM.
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