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  1. #16
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    Jul 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triskeliongirl View Post
    Emily, nice to hear you still enjoy MTBing! I thought at one point you told me you preferred your hard tail (that was when you had the titus racer X) but maybe what you meant was the style of riding, not the bike type.
    No, I can't imagine why I would have said that. Once I got my Racer X, I never rode my hardtail again. It was heavier and although it fit me well and was a nice looking bike, I just never went back to it after getting a fullie. And I rode them both on the same trails and roads so there was no difference in style of riding I did with either. When I got the lighter bike, I was finally able to keep up with the woman I rode with after work on the park trails instead of falling way behind on the heavier bike.

    I think you'll be fine with the 24/38 so long as you stick with the 26" wheels. There's not such a huge difference between a 22 and 24, and you may appreciate the higher top end, as you say.
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,698
    I've found that, with a 22T low chain ring, I don't have enough forward momentum to feel stable, especially in the lowest cogs. (ETA: this is in my local terrain, YMMV.) And that's on a 29er- on a 26" wheel, that 22T chainring will "feel" even lower. I greatly prefer the 26T ring, paired with an 11-36T cassette (10-speed on a 29er). I think that the reason that the 9-speed doubles were 22-36 was because there wasn't an option for a 36T cog on the cassettes. IIRC, that started with the 10-speed stuff. For reference, I'm now running 26/38T chainrings and a 11-36 cassette on my 29er.

    If it were me, I'd play around with a gear calculator and look at how the combinations of chainrings, wheel size, and cassette impact gear inches.
    Last edited by Becky; 08-23-2014 at 05:14 PM.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rowland Hts, CA
    Posts
    461
    I agree that a 2005 Gary Fisher is not that old. I think you should try riding some more on your current bike, then demo some 27.5 and 29ers.

    I am 5ft 1in, but I love the 29ers more than the 27.5. I feel a 29er has better grip descending. Since I go pretty slow on switchbacks, the tighter handling on the 27.5 didn't really differ for me on a 29er. But on a steep descent, I definitely felt more confident and "grippier" on my 29er than the 27.5. I am a MUCH better descender now on my Specialized Fate Hardtail 29er compared to my Santa Cruz Juliana 26er one year ago. I do miss fully sitting down on the non-rocky descents on the full suspension (I always have to keep my buttock up at least 1 cm on any descents on my hardtail or the saddle bucks me).

    If you have a lot of back pain from rocks or need to fully sit more often, I would recommend your future bike to be a full suspension. If your budget allows, get the remote locks so that you can lock out both the front and rear suspensions on your handle bar for climbing.

    I wish I liked the 27.5 more since they are lighter and Liv Giant has some awesome colors on their women's bikes.
    2014 Liv Lust
    2013 Specialized Fate Expert with carbon wheelset (sold)
    2012 Specialized Amira Elite
    2010 Santa Cruz Juliana with R kit and Crampon pedals (sold)

    2011 Specialized Ariel Sport,suspension post,Serfas Rx Women's Microfiber saddle (sold)

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    2,024
    Thanks for all the great advice. I ended up ordering 24/38 rings for my new custom crankset, but what is really cool, is that he is making it so I can interchange parts with my road cranks, and use it on either a mountain or road bike. Its essentially a road triple with a long axle BB to accommodate the beefier seat stays on a MTB. On a MTB, I will use just the inner 2 chain rings, and on a road bike I will use just the outer 2 chain rings, when I want compact doubles. But triples are also options on both. I just need to change out bottom brackets depending on what I want to do.

    The outer 2 chain rings will be 94 BCD, so they will accommodate road rings in the range of 30-52 (same as my road compact doubles that I have already). The innermost ring will be 74mm BCD so it can accommodate rings in the range of 24-30. So in the future if I change my mind about gearing I will have a lot of flexibility.

    I like that even if I don't adapt to serious MTBing, I could still use the new crank on a cyclocross bike if I decide I just want something light that gets me over packed dirt.

    Once I have the crank and BB though, I can also start test riding MTBs. One idea I have is to go to one of those trek for women skills clinics, and see if I can find a shop that would work with me to rent bikes (must be willing to install my custom crank), maybe even with a rent to own option in there. Then I can see for myself what kind of bike I might like best, and how if I really just s--k at it, or if I could get better with some training. Its much harder for me since I can't just walk into any bike shop and test ride anything. I have to find bikes with english threaded bottom brackets, FDs on clamps w a good range of adjustability (cuz my rings are also elliptical and offset), and then a shop that is willing to mount my crank for a test ride or rental.

    My gut feeling though is that if I can't ever be comfortable riding the bike I have over moderately rocky terrain, I am not going to adapt well to MTBing. My husband had no problem riding my 26er and his 29er over stuff I couldn't do, so that tells me it wasn't the bike. One day we got into some stuff I couldn't handle, so while I walked out, he rode each of our bikes sequentially out. Made it easier than my having to push my bike out!

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
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    6,763
    Quote Originally Posted by Triskeliongirl View Post
    My gut feeling though is that if I can't ever be comfortable riding the bike I have over moderately rocky terrain, I am not going to adapt well to MTBing. My husband had no problem riding my 26er and his 29er over stuff I couldn't do, so that tells me it wasn't the bike. One day we got into some stuff I couldn't handle, so while I walked out, he rode each of our bikes sequentially out. Made it easier than my having to push my bike out!
    Glad you found a good solution for your custom crank!

    Your experience sounds like mine, though; I have to walk some stuff that DH rides right through. It's a fear factor thing. But I still love my MTB and would never give her up. I just don't attempt to ride anything above my comfort level, but I still enjoy very much the stuff I can do since my full-suspension MTB is way more comfortable off of pavement than a cross bike. When I used to ride MTBs with my work friend at a park near our office, we rode fullies on packed gravel roads and double track trails. We'd see folks riding fullies, hardtails, and even cross bikes on the same roads/trails. But I would have had no interest in riding a cross bike on them. I liked my much wider knobby tires and suspension. I could easily lock out the front suspension for a couple of long climbs.

    Good luck getting it all figured out -- the most important thing is to have fun doing so!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    2,024
    I don't know that I necessarily want a cyclocross bike, but what I like is that I don't have to spend $2000 on a crank set that will only work on a MTB if I just can't get good enough to really enjoy it. I have to get at least good enough to ride with another person, since I realized that safety is a bigger issue when you are in the middle of no where. But even though the bike weighed 30 lb, I did have fun on the roads I felt I could manage. I looked at your blog, and I could definitely handle roads like in that last series of pics on the bike I had, and would enjoy that type of riding. With the front suspension I was very comfortable. I just want getting another bike to be because I get good at riding the bike I have, but then find its limiting me in some way, and then get the bike that deals best with the limitation. For example, you found you needed a lighter bike to keep up with your friend. I was feeling a lot of pressure to figure it out quickly, since initially I was trying to get it all done before my trip, and even after I thought I needed to choose the bike to get the crank set made. But the crank set will be made in way that is versatile enough that I will be able to take my time.

    You are so right on the fear factor. That is the other reason I think I just need more time riding on my own. While I wouldn't want to ride alone in the deep woods, one thing that was cool is that we found a park near where my family lives in Portugal with a circuit set up that is great to practice on. While we road there together, we could each ride at our own pace, and we would still pass each other periodically so we could check in on each other. But it had one climb too steep for the gearing I had with me (lowest gear I had was a 34/34, so I always had to walk that bit making it not as easy for me to practice and adapt. But next time we are there I will have my new crank so I should be able to handle a lot more terrain. I'm just gonna take it in baby steps....I will have plenty of time to sort it out when I am retired!

    It is nice reconnecting Emily! I hope you are enjoying your retirement. You can drop me a PM or email if you have any advice in that regard.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    This was my experience, exactly. I had one year, where I did Ok on the mountain bike, a few rocky descents, stream crossings, etc. But, I had a very high fear factor and it was demoralizing for me to have to walk climbs, when climbing is a real strength for me, on the road. Mountain biking is very dependent on practicing technical skills, and I just didn't want to put in the time! Then I got worried about crashing with osteoporosis, although I had plenty of mild crashes, with no ill effects. My osteoporosis is now better through treatment, back to osteopeinia, and I don't worry about this so much.
    I never wanted to go to a clinic, because I was just embarrassed and figured that I would be the worst rider there. I went on one group mtb ride, in an area that is considered easy.... I walked half the time and was humiliated in front of a lot of people i know. That kind of did me in; even though it was almost 10 years ago, the memory is scorched in my brain.
    Still, the thought of riding on dirt roads and double track does intrigue me.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura
    2017 Specialized Ariel Sport

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    2,024
    Attached is a pic that I found on the web of the Algarviana that looksexactly like the terrain I struggled on. Do you guys consider this sort of trail easy, moderate or hard by mountain bike standards? Suitable for a hardtail? I felt very unstable and was afraid I was going to fall so ended up doing a lot of walking, even when moderatly flat. My husband too had trouble when this stuff got really hilly. I should add we had no instruction in skills, just bought these bikes and started to ride them as if they were road bikes. My husband did notice a difference on our two bikes though. He said his 29er just rolled over everything, whereas with mine he had to steer around things more and pick his line more carefully. With that being said though, he did like the increased maneuverability of the smaller wheels. If that is the case, then maybe it would be easier for me to roll over stuff on a 29er, but then many of you say women our size don't like them, and then I wonder if 27.5 is different enough from 26 to make a difference. Those of you that fell on 29ers, do you think it was because it was so much harder to control the bike, as that doesn't sound good either. Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    If I had been on my FS bike that would have been hard going up (just getting the right momentum) for me, and moderate if it was flat. That's pretty rocky and similar to trails in New England. It wouldn't have hurt, though, because of the suspension.
    Mountain biking isn't anything like road biking! Always having to remember "butt up and off the back" while descending and "boobs to the tube" while climbing got overwhelming. I am a timid descender to begin with, and when someone tells me not to brake going down a rocky hill, well, that was kind of counter-intuitive to me. I did a couple of descents well, that really surprised me, but it took a lot out of me. One of my issues was I tried to avoid the rocks and roots if there were just a moderate amount, and that wasn't always the best "line." And when people were screaming "choose your line," I didn't know what they meant. After I learned, it meant little to me, because to me, the best line was the one that avoided obstacles. Plus, how do you know? No one could really explain that to me. So, my brain kind of always felt like it was going to explode with all of these rules.
    I'm kind of the same with road cycling, but it all seems a bit more intuitive to me. I just want to ride, and it's harder to do that mountain biking.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura
    2017 Specialized Ariel Sport

  10. #25
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897
    How much air was in your tires?

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    2,024
    I put the maximum air indicated on the tire, don't remember exact amount now, but maybe something like 40 psi. The issue was not my body hurting from lack of suspension, it had more to do with my ability to balance, or a fear thereof. So what does line mean? I thought it meant the path that aovids the rocks and roots as best as possible.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897
    You get much better stability when you inflate your tires less. I haven't ridden real single track in a long time, but sometimes I'll ride my mountain bike on a bridle path next to a rail trail in this area. I've found that the difference between max. psi and putting less air in the tires is huge. Unfortunately I don't remember the details because it's been a while, but I think I put 30-35 psi and found I was much more stable and bounced around much less. My bike is a 26" hardtail.

    You might want to see if your local mountain bike group offers beginner classes or if they have any group rides for beginners. Or check with your LBS to see if they know of anything.

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    I don't want to sound overly negative, Trisk. If I had really wanted to improve, I could have. It's just that you sound just like I did!
    NY is right. Lower the tire pressure. All of this talk makes me want to go mountain biking! Today, i hiked on the one trail I felt pretty comfortable on and I was thinking about what I'd be doing, if I was on the bike.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura
    2017 Specialized Ariel Sport

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rowland Hts, CA
    Posts
    461
    Quote Originally Posted by Triskeliongirl View Post
    Attached is a pic that I found on the web of the Algarviana that looksexactly like the terrain I struggled on. Do you guys consider this sort of trail easy, moderate or hard by mountain bike standards? Suitable for a hardtail? I felt very unstable and was afraid I was going to fall so ended up doing a lot of walking, even when moderatly flat. My husband too had trouble when this stuff got really hilly. I should add we had no instruction in skills, just bought these bikes and started to ride them as if they were road bikes. My husband did notice a difference on our two bikes though. He said his 29er just rolled over everything, whereas with mine he had to steer around things more and pick his line more carefully. With that being said though, he did like the increased maneuverability of the smaller wheels. If that is the case, then maybe it would be easier for me to roll over stuff on a 29er, but then many of you say women our size don't like them, and then I wonder if 27.5 is different enough from 26 to make a difference. Those of you that fell on 29ers, do you think it was because it was so much harder to control the bike, as that doesn't sound good either. Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	17356
    Based solely on this photo, I would say that this is NOT a beginner trail because "picking the correct lines" is very essential here due to the rocks that will throw you off balance. It also sounds like a carbon or titanium full suspension is best for you based on your previous comments.

    In addition, I ride tubeless. I am 5ft 1in and weigh 120# and have my 29er tires at 20 PSI. Because of the tubeless tires, I can set up my bike at a lower PSI which gives better tractions on the descents (which is my weakness).

    Having your handle bars measured by a bike fitter and cut to the right length also helped increase my bike maneuverability without sacrificing stability.

    Many people say that 27.5 makes a big enough difference from the 26 which is why a lot of bike manufacturers have discontinued their 26ers from all their bike lines except the downhill bikes. Personally, I couldn't tell much of a difference between the 27.5 and the 26, but I feel a HUGE difference between my 29er which is why I went with the 29er instead.
    2014 Liv Lust
    2013 Specialized Fate Expert with carbon wheelset (sold)
    2012 Specialized Amira Elite
    2010 Santa Cruz Juliana with R kit and Crampon pedals (sold)

    2011 Specialized Ariel Sport,suspension post,Serfas Rx Women's Microfiber saddle (sold)

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,763
    That photo of a rocky trail looks more advanced than anything I'd want to ride. DH and I attempted to ride one trail that looked like that, and even he fell. He is not really a MTBer but is braver than I -- I stopped and walked before I fell. We didn't make it far before we both decided it was above our ability and turned around. Just not into a lot of rocks or roots.

    When I first started MTBing and was riding my hardtail, I rode with a couple of friends on some twisty trails that were rated beginner to intermediate, and I found them really rooty/slippery and difficult in places. Lots of switchbacks too. That was when I took a few falls and ultimately decided that I would stick to easier stuff. If I'd had the time and desire, I could have taken some clinics and learned to ride that kind of stuff, I'm sure, but I didn't. I was working and didn't have extra time to spare, and at the time DH didn't have a MTB and had no interest in it, and I wanted to continue spending time riding on the road with him.

    So, like Crankin, I am a bit of a MTB dropout, but that doesn't mean I don't like my MTB! I just enjoy road riding too much to spend the time to improve my MTB skills.

    That said, I've found that my MTB is awesome on rutted, potholed urban roads as well as the "lighter" gravel roads and trails we ride. We have used them riding packed trails like the Katy, Michelson, and Virginia Creeper, finding them far more comfortable and forgiving for those unpaved surfaces than any road bike would be.
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

 

 

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