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advice on mountain bike for roadie?(42 posts)

advice on mountain bike for roadie?DougSloan
May 5, 2003 7:33 PM
I want a mountain bike again, having been out of it for 4 years, to do some fun training, no racing. Want a reasonably light and inexpensive bike. I like the challenge of hard singletrack climbs, but I'm a real chicken on mtb descents; a big hit downhiller would be a total waste.

I'm seriously considering the Giant XTC 2 for $1000 even. What do you think (any mtb'ers here?)? My last mtb was a full XTR 21 pound Airborne Lucky Strike/SID, and I liked it alot.

It's gotten some decent reviews, and seems like good bang for the buck...


I've got an '02 Litespeed Pisgah for sale.STEELYeyed
May 5, 2003 7:43 PM
I thought I would enjoy MTB, but it just hasn't taken a hold for me. The LS has been sitting for 9 months unridden.
Just a shame. A terrible shame.
size? price? thx nmDougSloan
May 6, 2003 6:26 AM
size? price? thx nmSTEELYeyed
May 6, 2003 7:33 AM
It is an '02 Litespeed Pisgah (Macalu sold by Excel sports) but is fully badged as a Litespeed frame. Full XT, 16.5" I'm 5'10" 33" inseam and it fits me well, Mavic 221 rims, Ritchy ZMax tires. Asking $1500 OBO.
There is an add on classifieds with a pic, its listed under hardtail bikes.
why'd you get rid of the airborne?!weiwentg
May 5, 2003 8:10 PM
I have an SE hardtail that I pieced together (avid discs, a mars super, half LX and half XT, cane creek wam discs, $1300) which I like a lot. the frame is very light, handling is OK for XC racing (I have no basis for comparison). your stock SE2 is good bang for the buck, like most Giants, but you can probably do better and have more fun if you place want ads for frames and components (but no warranty). if you want the bike stock, then I would say it's a good bike. an equivalent decision on road would be buying a TCR 2.
as for your last bike, if you "liked it a lot", why'd you get rid of it?
nixed the airborne...DougSloan
May 6, 2003 6:28 AM
I simply went full time road, and ultra road at that. Saturdays were too valuable, that is, I needed to get 100-200 miles in, versus 2 hours on a trail plus travel to and from. When I sold it, I bought another road bike (or maybe a Record group, actually) with the money. Had nothing to do with disliking the Airborne. In fact, I have tried to buy it back from the guy who bought it, but he's kicking butt in races on it, and won't sell.


what the...?gtx
May 5, 2003 8:22 PM
first going back to steel, now this.

It's hard to beat Giant. That's what I'd get if I was looking for a new bike in that price range. I think Jamis has a pretty cool steel bike for a little more. You also might try used--lots of really cool steel hardtails can be had for cheap--IF, Ibis, etc. Or maybe you should get a singlespeed...
no bianchi?moschika
May 5, 2003 10:24 PM
i thought you'ld be getting another bianchi to go with your collection.

they seem like good bikes but i haven't looked new mountainbikes since i got my custom a couple years ago.
no bianchi?DougSloan
May 6, 2003 6:30 AM
The Bianchi mountain bikes just don't seem like as good of value; plus, being a mtb, it doesn't matter as much as my road bikes.

I'm biased and ride a Blur.johnrg
May 5, 2003 10:24 PM
it didn't crack yet? nmcyclopathic
May 6, 2003 5:07 AM
Where are they cracking? It's been great so far.johnrg
May 6, 2003 3:22 PM
at pivot welds/design flow nmcyclopathic
May 7, 2003 7:56 AM
Thanks for the heads up. Will keep an eye on it.johnrg
May 7, 2003 4:04 PM
I would recomend an Ellsworth Truth!the bull
May 6, 2003 3:09 AM
They are a little pricey but they ride like a dream.
Other bikes mtn bikes I have ridden
litespeed-unicoi-sucks(this was the first one with the spring rear that kept braking)ride felt like a flat tire
Indepent Fabrications-awsome-but still a hard tail
The fs is worth it esp. if your a roadie like me.
Blasphemy! -nmfiltersweep
May 6, 2003 4:03 AM
santa cruz superlight or steel singlespeed. nmcolker
May 6, 2003 4:59 AM
single speed out of the question hereDougSloan
May 6, 2003 6:32 AM
The trails around here are really, really steep, over 30% I'd say. It's all I can do to keep the front tire on the ground, literally. Unless I'm in really good shape and have my technical skills honed, it's all I can do to climb some places in the 24x34.

Plus, I'm 15 pounds over weight.

re: advice on mountain bike for roadie?climbo
May 6, 2003 5:04 AM
for what you are looking for it sounds about right. I would sway you against aluminium frames if you don't like taking a beating. In hardtails, steel would be the way to go if you want to take long MTB rides. Light is great but the feel of steel is much easier on the upper body. Harder to find good cheap steel hardtails but maybe Jamis or Bicnhi used to have one also.
Jamis HardtailAFred
May 6, 2003 5:30 AM
This winter I decided to mix in some MTB'ing with 'cross workouts. I went to Jenson and they put together a great deal on a Jamis Dragon frame (853 Reynolds) with an XT group for around $1200. I've had a blast with it. It's reasonably light and compliant for a hardtail. I was so impressed with Jamis that I also bought a Dakar Sport FS bike to keep up with my buddies on the rough stuff. Jamis squeezes a lot of value into their bikes. Good luck.
Santa Cruz Superlightmohair_chair
May 6, 2003 6:03 AM
If you are a chicken on downhills, what you probably want is a cross country bike, not a downhill or freeride bike. (You might even consider a hard tail.) I think your best choice is the Santa Cruz Superlight, which is a full suspension XC bike. I have one. Everyone I know seems to have one. It seems to be the official bike of the Santa Cruz Mountains, and for a good reason--it's an awesome bike.

Check around--it's hard to find anything negative about them. It excels on climbs and it does very well on technical stuff and downhills. It's not designed to do four foot dropoffs, but you aren't interested in doing that anyway.

There is a new Santa Cruz model called "Blur" which is also an awesome bike, and very much in demand right now.
Santa Cruz Superlight -- thx, I'll check it out nmDougSloan
May 6, 2003 6:33 AM
then you should also check out...gtx
May 6, 2003 8:26 AM
Titus Racer X, Titus Loco Moto and Ventana Pantera. And I think Moots now has a cheaper AL version of their Smoothie, which looks fantastic. Giant's FS XC bike is very nice, too. You're getting way out of your stated price range here, though...
love my GF Sugar 2ColnagoFE
May 6, 2003 6:14 AM
light, low maintenance, flies up hills and is stable on descents. not the bike for 10 foot drops, but a great trail bike.
Steel & SS - Bianchi S.I.S.S. (nm)crosstrail
May 6, 2003 6:21 AM
Yep, the Giant is a good betMel Erickson
May 6, 2003 6:43 AM
And if you want to consider steel the Jamis is hard to beat. I have a Giant XTC NRS1 full suspension and it's also hard to beat (price/performance) for an XC rig. A full suspension will help take some of the concern out of the downhills and an NRS can be had used for a very reasonable price. See these completed ebay sales.
The advantage of the NRS concept is it climbs like a hardtail (no suspension bob) but is more comfortable. It's not plush but handles the downhills much better than a hardtail. I certainly wouldn't shy away from alu in a MTB. Just like road bikes it's the dominant material for light weight and performance. If you like to climb hard and descend easy then you want a lighter weight bike. A light weight hardtail will be around 21-22 lbs and a comparable FS would be 25lbs. All of the other FS rigs mentioned are very good bikes but also much higher priced, even used. Used mountain bikes are a much bigger crap shoot than road bikes because of the greater abuse they take. Why not post this on the MTBR discussion boards. You'll get some good responses there too.
Ditto - Giant NRS hard to beat for $ mine *NM*Mudman
May 6, 2003 7:06 AM
'02 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp for saleAFrizzledFry
May 6, 2003 6:59 AM
I also found out the hard way that i'm a roadie. email me at if you're interested. its in great condition, and only has roughly 25 miles on it. got some mtb shoes too, if you're the right size.

Thomas Garrad
Noone has mention the Specialized EpicSpecialTater
May 6, 2003 7:05 AM
I sound like a Specialized salesman (due to my nickname and since I have an Allez) but my dream MTB to replace my Trek is either a Santa Cruz Superlight, an Ellsworth Truth or the Spec Epic (with the Brain rear suspension).

Most of the hardcore MTB'ers on have Blurs, Superlights, Sugars or Ellsworth Truths. The Epic seems to get really good reviews and press, but fewer riders. Why is that?
It's too newMel Erickson
May 6, 2003 7:12 AM
and, as yet, unproven. There's not enough of them out there with enough miles on them to reach a consensus. Plus, the technology is different enough that some people are put off by it. I would say there are many on that ride and like Blurs, Superlights, Sugars and Truths but there are many that ride and like a wide variety of other bikes, too. There's hardly a consensus on these brands and models. It's just like the road world, only different.
I was out...indymac
May 6, 2003 7:15 AM
a couple of weeks ago at a demo days at one of the local 'private' trails. Although I didn't demo (don't want to cheat on my steel HT), I spoke to alot of riders who did. I think that all the riders I spoke with, and who tried both, preferred the SC Blur over the Epic.

I thought I also heard that the spec on the Epic made it a 'heavyweight'...
I was out...laffeaux
May 6, 2003 10:21 AM
The frame is a bit heavy for a race bike (which is what it is). It's a 1/4 to 1/2 pound more than the Blur which is not billed as a race bike.

It's a hardtail bike that turns into a suspension bike when the going gets tough. For racing that's fine, and maybe a good idea. However for normal riding, I think most people prefer the consistent feel of a hardtail or a FS bike, and don't want to guess if the suspension will be active or not at any given point.
Some of the guys were...indymac
May 6, 2003 11:00 AM
also commenting on how 'uncomfortable' it was. However, that is more fit related and could be fine tuned...

My buddy recently sold both his Heckler and his Superlight after he built up his new Blur. He says it is a far better climber than the Superlight...almost makes me want to try one!
Own an Epic but sell lots of Blurs...teoteoteo
May 6, 2003 2:23 PM
I own an Epic because it is pure and simple fast...speed is the number one aspect of why I chose it over the Blur. When I say fast I mean that the geometry of the Epic (E-Pig) is more conducive to my cross country get through the course fast nature. My Epic is 25 which is 3 more than my 2002 S-Works hardtail--so far I'd say it's worth it though.

The Blur is fun to ride but feels much shorter and taller than my Epig--it just feels a little more sluggish and handicapped at high speed. I cut my teeth on hardtails (as did most mtb'ers) and love the way they ride so it figures that I would love a hardtail-esque bike.

What makes me laugh are the guys with zero technical skills riding 100mm travel $4k rigs that never learned basic riding skills the ol' rigid rigs taught you. There are some things you can't buy......
Giant XTC 2 Rocks!lexington476
May 6, 2003 7:08 AM
I ride and race my 2003 Giant XTC 2. It is a great bike! And has a nice paint job. You would love that bike!
I like my Marin...SpoiledBikeDaddy
May 6, 2003 7:26 AM
I have an '02 Marin Nail Trail, which is a mid-level hardtail. The '03 model has been upgraded to include disc brakes and (I think) the next step up in Shimano drivetrain elements (mine came with a mix of in-house stuff as well as Shimano Deore and LX - seems to me the entire 'train on the '03 might be in-house and LX).

It climbs very nicely, is reasonably light for the $$ (~$800.00 - again, I THINK this is right), and a lot of fun!

Good luck!
Forget the MTB--get a 'cross bike...The Walrus
May 6, 2003 12:23 PM
...I think I've only ridden MTBs twice since I got my first 'cross bike about four years ago, and I don't miss 'em. I do singletrack and fire roads, and while it's not as plush or possibly as fast as a mountain bike, it still works perfectly well. (Go to the 'cross board and get some opinions from some of the posters there...) Another plus--it's not a chore to ride 15 miles from home to the trailhead on the 'crosser. You could even retain that all-important Bianchi brand purity--that is, if you can bring yourself to consider the Axis a "real" Bianchi. (I do.) ...or you could look for a used Reparto Corse 'cross bike.
Second that.TWD
May 6, 2003 1:01 PM
I'll second that. I hate to admit it, but my 2 mountain bikes haven't been ridden in months, but my crosser gets ridden every day for commuting, wet weather road rides, touring, adventure rides, mtb rides etc....

Doug, since you mentioned that you intend on using it for trails with 30% grades, if you did go the cross route, do yourself a favor and put a triple on it. Actually, a standard (non-compact) 110 bcd mtb crank with 24/36/48 ring setup with a mtb cassette and rear der. will get you just about anywhere you need to go.
trails hereDougSloan
May 6, 2003 3:38 PM
I'd seriously consider that, but the local trails are a little too steep, rocky, twisty, and loose for a cross bike. I need a full 2.1 inch or wider low pressure knobby to get up the hills. I would agree normally, but these trails are really, really hard (life threatening, actually, a lot of times). Thanks.

re: advice on mountain bike for roadie?mapei boy
May 6, 2003 2:20 PM
I'm not sure you can still get them, but I love my Tomac Buckshot. In terms of things like balance, steering precision and other handling qualities, it feels like an Italian road bike...except you can take it off-road. Despite those horrendously large, square rear stays, it is actually reasonably comfortable. While riding it, you get the feeling that Tomac really knows how a bike ought to feel; and that he's got a designer in Doug Bradbury who can execute that vision to a T. With its modest LX level components, it weighs about 24 lbs. The last I saw, Colorado Cyclist was selling them for about $800.

While I was shopping for the Tomac, I rode a Giant XTC 1 and a Bianchi Grizzly, among other bikes. The Giant was smooth and wonderful, but I'm a weakling and it just weighed too much. The Grizzly had the calm ride of a steelie, but it tended to oversteer in corners. It was a little too pro for me.
Tomac seems very comparable; thanksDougSloan
May 6, 2003 3:41 PM
Steel all the way!!rayclark
May 6, 2003 6:54 PM
A great steel bike is the Gunnar Rockhound ( ). I wouldn't give mine up for anything. Climbs like a goat.