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View Full Version : Suggestions for a full suspension mtn bike under 24 pounds?


Attornatus_Oregonensis
03-03-2007, 12:25 PM
I really want to get a new mountain bike that's both full suspension and light weight for some cross-country riding this year. I haven't seen anything that is under 24 pounds ... any suggestions?

steelsreal
03-03-2007, 04:33 PM
These will get you close, depending on pedals and which travel you want. Probably aren't going to like the $$$ though... If I were to get one, I would do it as a Project One build. Costs more but the bike will be personalized and much cooler looking. You can spec all the approprite parts that way too. Stem length/rise, bar width and type, crank length, etc.

http://www2.trekbikes.com/bikes/bike.php?bikeid=1148600&f=11

http://www2.trekbikes.com/bikes/bike.php?bikeid=1169600&f=12

The Fuel Ex will weigh a bit more than the Top Fuel, but that extra inch of travel will make the bike a lot more fun.... I think it is more fun to ride myself. Unless you are racing three inch platforms are sort of dead technology.

The top fuel will be around 21 pounds. The Ex, well under 24.

Attornatus_Oregonensis
03-04-2007, 08:54 AM
Wow, that is an incredible amount of money. But, I suppose that's what it takes. I do like the Fuel and I'm addicted to the singletrack, so...now I guess I need to start a fund.

steelsreal
03-04-2007, 12:39 PM
Bear in mind the price in the shop will be way lower than on Trek's website! If you don't mind a few more pounds you can still get a very, very nice bike by stepping down in the line-up a bit.

superstator
03-15-2007, 03:32 PM
Take a look at the Giant Anthem too, if you haven't already. I love mine to death - it's fast almost to the point of being twitchy, and I've found the 3" suspension to be enough for anything I'm willing to ride anyway. It might be a little more than 24lbs with stock components, but less (mass) is always more ($).

fetishridr
03-15-2007, 04:35 PM
the problem with a 25 lb limit is that some pros ride bikes that heavy. that means that the top end bikes are aroud 4-6K. you can get the same platform with lower components at around 28 lbs.
salsa and moots make an interesting bike that has a supesion damper thing a ma bob in the seat stays. they call is the soft tail. its neither a hard or a suspended rear end.

but as for buying a new bike, get a 29er, and you dont need any suspension. big wheels take the sting out of bumps. my fully rigid cromoly frame on 29 inch wheels is way more comfortable than my aluminum gary fisher hardtail with an 80 mm fork.

Attornatus_Oregonensis
03-26-2007, 10:27 AM
Thanks for all the great info.

My tax return came in and, what with the nice weather, it's burning a hole in my pocket!

It's down to the Trek Fuel and the Giant Anthem. Any points of comparison there? Any other bikes comparable to these two?

I'm interested in hearing more on the 29er. Can I really get something just as light that will perform as well without suspension? Why is it that the larger wheels are able to absorb shocks as well as a 26er with suspension?

steelsreal
03-26-2007, 01:38 PM
29'ers are awesome.

That being said, I would never encourage someone to buy one instead of a full-suspension. They are not interchangeable, no matter what fans(like me) may say.

The reason they ride more like a full-sus is that you have a greater angle of attack on obstacles. Picture a 10 foot diameter wheel, everything is smaller in relationship to it.

Trek vs. Giant is a no brainer for me. The Trek will have a higher quality aluminum frame. If you are going carbon there is no comparison. The Trek suspension platforms were produced for the fuel ex specifically by rock shox.

The Trek will be made in Wisconsin. The Giant in China/Taiwan. Union wage workers here, slave labor over there. Much cleaner environmental regulations over here as well.

The components on the Trek are the same spec you would buy off shelf in the store. Giant OEM's parts. Meaning the pay a fee to make lower quality parts and then apply that companies sticker to the part.

On top of all of that, the Trek rides better. In my obviously not so humble opinion!

If I were you I would spend that cash on a fuel ex 7. Then I would buy a rigid 29'er for fun. We have 29'ers starting at $400 bucks, so both bikes should be easily obtainable.

Attornatus_Oregonensis
03-26-2007, 01:59 PM
How is it that you have such detailed corporate operational information on Trek and Giant? It seems to me that there is a lot of pertinent information there for many people considering buying a bike, but that it is not widely available (or is it?).

steelsreal
03-26-2007, 04:32 PM
Going on 15 years in the industry.

I agree that this info should be readily available. Trouble is most shops pay near minimum wage and that does not encourage long term employment. Or dedication to the trade, though many shop employees exhibit both those traits nonetheless.

Second trouble is, walk into a shop that carries Giant and see what they have to say! No one is going to share the negatives of their bread and butter.

Another problem is most people are pulled in by marketing and/or familiarity and develop "brand" loyalty. I have heard person after person expressing supposed facts, that are entirely based on their subjective loyalty to a name, not based on that darned pesky objective reality.

Best to listen to lots of people, then go ride the bikes. If one is speaking to you and the parts on it are a good value, buy it! Who cares what it says on the side of the bike? Unless that name is associated with business practices or other concerns that relate to you. Environmental stewardship, quality of construction and materials, outsourcing, advocacy, etc.

Trek likes to buy other companies and in doing so, they gain access to technologies and materials not available to others. The high end Treks, use Gary Klein's aluminum. It is regarded as the best aluminum available. Followed closely by Easton's Scandium, which everyone else has to pay a premium for, that cost is then passed on to you, the consumer.

When it comes to carbon, it is a whole different deal. Many people make quality rolled tube carbon frames, with metal lugs holding it together. Formed lugs or bladder built bikes are vastly different company to company. I have seen every large companies frames sawn in half lengthwise and would never buy a full carbon bike from anyone but Trek. Though I would not buy carbon from anyone, so sort of moot!

Some companies straddle the mass merchant, independent bike shop worlds. Giant is one of those. Performance, Bike and Hike and their ilk will carry companies like Giant. The reason is they can do pretty much whatever they want. Giant will sell their bikes to anyone short of Wal-mart and Toys-r-us. They do not enforce pricing and that allows people to run higher margins, then discount as needed. Lots of money there for less scrupulous business owners.

I worked at a Giant dealer that sold a bike for $849. A shop across town had the same bike all season at $599. How many people paid the higher price? Lots! If people wanted a deal, sure let me take 10 percent off! What a deal, yeah? Of course we would price match, though most people never thought to ask (or shop around).

If a Trek dealer did that, Trek would stop selling to them.

I also have a soft spot for Unions and welders and sure like it when we keep their jobs stateside.

Attornatus_Oregonensis
03-26-2007, 05:39 PM
Why wouldn't you buy a carbon bike?

The labor and environmental practices of the manufacturer(s) do matter to me, as do business practices of the type you described with Giant sales. Is there a literature or trade press on the bike industry?

steelsreal
03-26-2007, 06:59 PM
The industry does have a trade publication. It is informative, though keep in mind it is an "industry" publication. Beyond the letters to the editor you will rarely see a critique of established businesses and their practices. Best to take it all in with a hefty grain of salt.

www.bicycleretailer.com

Why would I not buy carbon? Many reasons, all of them utter whooey!

Carbon, when properly utilized, is without a doubt the best overall frame material. Soak that one in a bit..

It does however, have several drawbacks. First, it is the current trend and everyone wants it. That has caused it to be used in many applications that it may or may not be ideal. Fork steer tubes come to mind.

This trend also has everyone piling on, many of these companies have little experience in proper fabrication. This leads to heavier parts, or more breakage. Ever seen a broken handlebar, stem or fork? I have, and man I sure don't want mine to ever come apart on a fast descent. I also don't want to ever have to think about it breaking while I am bombing down a hill!

The other trend is simply farming the carbon crafting out to an established producer, and they are not using the highest bidder generally!

I ride steel bikes. I am a huge fan of steel. Having said that, I would run away from anyone saying that steel is superior, as it is most definately not. It is however "traditional". It is welded by hand in an open air environment. It requires a great degree of skill and craftsmanship to be used well as a frame material. It is an art form that I happily support. It has a certain "feel" that I prefer.

Carbon is brittle and can break from impact trauma. It is incredibly strong under all other loads, it just does not like to be whacked with hard objects, though who does??? This is the biggest concern, especially on a mtn bike. It is also very expensive, relative to aluminum. Also, it is almost never used properly, resulting in weaker frames, or heavier frames, or both!

If I decided to buy a carbon bike it would either be from a company using rolled tubes(serotta, seven, etc.) or it would be from Trek. Trek's process is the standard for carbon moulding across all industries. Boeing and Nasa are the only other folks that I know of using carbon to this level of precision. Boeing acquired this skill through an industry trade with Trek a few years back. I am sure the military has helped themselves to the patent as well. Though that is just a guess.

The other advantage with Trek is a free, lifetime crash replacement on all OCLV carbon. Optimum Compaction Low Void. Trek does use other carbon processes for some forks, seatposts and seat stays. This carbon is comparable to other companies, is made overseas and does not have the crash replacement coverage.

Basically if you damage the frame, if an asteroid hits it, or if C.H.U.D.'s crawl up from the sewers and poke it full of holes with sharpened sticks, Trek will sell you a new frame or part at very close to their production costs. Waaaay less than buying a new frame, or part. No one else in the industry offers this service. You also get the standard industry wide lifetime frame warranty, which covers manufacturing error.

If you can afford it, the Top Fuel or high end Fuel EX are awesome bikes. I like to destroy my mtn bikes, so I would opt for the Fuel EX 7 myself. It is an excellent value and you won't have to worry about falling down in a rock garden. Well, you won't have to worry about your bike at least!

The carbon Fuels are a blast however. If I had more money and fewer expensive hobbies, I might buy one. As it stands, I will just borrow one from the shop every now and then!

Attornatus_Oregonensis
03-26-2007, 07:14 PM
I think I'm going with the Trek Top Fuel 9.8

Matt P.
03-27-2007, 12:27 PM
I ride steel bikes. I am a huge fan of steel. Having said that, I would run away from anyone saying that steel is superior, as it is most definately not. It is however "traditional". It is welded by hand in an open air environment. It requires a great degree of skill and craftsmanship to be used well as a frame material. It is an art form that I happily support. It has a certain "feel" that I prefer.

Carbon is brittle and can break from impact trauma. It is incredibly strong under all other loads, it just does not like to be whacked with hard objects, though who does??? This is the biggest concern, especially on a mtn bike. It is also very expensive, relative to aluminum. Also, it is almost never used properly, resulting in weaker frames, or heavier frames, or both!


I think you said that perfectly - everything is a tradeoff. Aluminum is lighter, and when exposed to air only oxidizes at the top layer, unlike steel, which will "rot" through if you don't deal with the rust. OTOH, steel can be welded much easier than aluminum, and steel and welders are both readily available, albeit with varying quality.

ISTR some issue with mounting equipment to carbon bikes, cracking the frame if you tightened the screws too tightly or some such - but I can't seem to find the article.

Anyway, nice summary - very informative.

Attornatus_Oregonensis
03-28-2007, 06:31 AM
Yes, definitely very informative. I appreciate all the info steelsreal and others. It would be interesting to start a discussion on building practices in the bike industry based on your mention of construction locations, labor practices, etc.

lynnef
03-28-2007, 08:59 AM
This thread in the Cascade Bike Forums is very pertinent to this thread. Follow the links in the postings...

http://www.cascade.org/Community/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=5&threadid=6344