Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Shopping For Bikes

Santa Cruz just announced the carbon version of the Chameleon.
This year I am shopping for a new mountain bike. The old one, my Singular Buzzard, is fine, really, and I've been in no hurry to replace it, but for a few newer developments. Wheels are a big thing, and it is that new Boost thing-a-ma-jigger that has me contemplating a new mtb. So, following is a few points I have that I wish to have represented in my new mountain bike.
  • I really would like to do something in a 29+, but that isn't 100% necessary.
  • Hard tail....probably. I'm not locked in to that either. I could be talked into a full suspension rig, but there doesn't seem to be much out there that is single track, Mid-West friendly. That is true for a lot of hard tails as well. But, there are some things that are "okay". 
  • No 27.5- Not even on my radar.
  • Front Suspension- Yes. Although a rigid front end isn't out of the question, I am certain a front suspension fork would make everything more-betterer. Or something.......That said I don't need a ton of travel.
  • Not Aluminum. Again.....not 100% agin' it. But aluminum hard tails are......not my favorite. 
  • Through axles. Boost. Dropper post routed. Threaded bottom bracket. All musts on this list. 
  • I shouldn't have to sell a kidney to buy it. Santa Cruz just announced a Carbon Chameleon. Retails at 5K. Uhh.......nope. Too rich for my blood. 
Right now some of Surly's offerings look rather appealing to me. But I'm open to suggestions. To tell the truth, my "budget be damned", dream bike would be a Jones titanium LWB 29+. To me, that is my ultimate bike. I guess a steel one would do.......

This all said, my current steel Singular Buzzard isn't all that bad. So, if a suitable replacement doesn't present itself within a reasonable budget, I can pass on it. A mountain bike isn't missing from my stable, it is just something I'd like to upgrade......maybe. 

Another one that is up for replacement.
Now I am not done shopping just yet. Oh no! I have one other aging rig in the stable and this is actually a bit more pressing in terms of "need". That being a new gravel frame and fork with through axles to replace the aging Tamland Two.

The Tamland Two is really hard to beat. It is steel, the fork is steel and is famously smooth. But......quick release axle standard. That's really all there is against it, in my eyes. The thing is, the wheel market is moving to through axles and I need to be able to have that available in my test sleds for RidingGravel.com so when I get wheels in for testing I am not limited to one bike. (The BMC MCD currently)

Once again, I have a list of desires for a replacement and these are fairly non-negotiable.
  • Deeper than 70mm bottom bracket drop. I am convinced it makes a difference in handling. The sweet spot being somewhere between 72mm and 75mm. 
  • Head angle of less than 72°- Steeper than this brings on a front end that hunts for a line, requires more attention to keep on track in loose stuff, and generally is not of interest to me. My ideal would be 71°. 
  • Chain stays at least 430mm long. Too short and that rear wheel is right under my butt and that translates to rougher, sketchier ride quality. No longer than 440mm is necessary though. 
  • Threaded bottom bracket, standard head set, (pressed in cups), not real interested in internal routing. 
  • Single speed conversion a plus. 
  • Steel, titanium, then aluminum, and finally carbon fiber, in that order of frame preference. Carbon is susceptible to wear through from mud and detritus found in mud like grass, rocks, and whatever else Level B roads may contain. Much more so than the other metal frames would be. Carbon would be at the bottom of my list in desirable frame materials. Steel and titanium are tops on my list. By a country mile. 
  • Not interested in a 1X only frame. It must have front derailleur compatibility. 
So, I really am being pretty picky here, but after riding thousands of miles of gravel roads in several states, I am pretty sure I know what I want. Will I find it? Maybe...... Maybe another Black Mountain Cycles MCD!

Stay tuned.

7 comments:

Craig Groseth said...

My one mountain bike = Jones 29+ LWB steel

My one road bike = Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross

My one commuter bike = 1991 Specialized RockHopper fixed/single speed

I shed all the rest. One could do worse.

DT said...

The Wilier Jaroon can do 29+ on a gravel bike! Kill two birds with one stone, haha

RC said...

Seems hard to beat the BMC.. That said, I'm riding a 2019 Kona Sutra ltd picked up last fall.. The best thing I've ridden yet. WTB Resolutes added after purchase. Offset rims seem a plus too. They come one by but are capable of front d's. And you can buy just a frameset. If only we could ride all the offerings.....

wp said...

Hey GT, if you end up putting the Raleigh up for sale, let me know. I like the way yours is set up these days...

Guitar Ted said...

@wp- If I retire the Tamland it will be going up on the wall here. It isn't every day that a bicycle comes along that you can say, truthfully, you had a hand in designing, as I did with the Raleigh Tamland. That bike will never be going out of my collection as long as I am alive.

Erin said...

I built a Jones SWB Steel Spaceframe last October and it is fantastic. Would I have gotten the Ti if I had the $$? OF COURSE! But the steel if its own beast and a thing of beauty nonetheless.

K. said...

I am setting up a all city gorilla monsoon right now. It hits all your marks. I am mixing it up with moloko bars (the aero position is awesome!) and 26” x2.8” vee speedster slicks. Should be a lower, and more aggressive jones type multipurpose brawler.