Alpine Bike

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ZeroDarkBivi
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Alpine Bike

Post by ZeroDarkBivi » Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:44 pm

Decided I 'need' a new bike to expand my riding into more demanding mountain territory - Euro Alps and hopefully further afield in due course. Not interested in a heavy downhill horse-drawn sledge, but something I can take on multi-day self supported trips that will deliver the comfort and control I want for demanding high terrain. My initial criteria are:

Light - no point in fighting gravity in the mountains.
Robust - a broken bike is even less useful than a heavy one. A thoughtful designs that optimise weight V durability (eg using less vulnerable materials where impacts tend to happen, like the rear triangle).
Comfortable - I am not Chris Plesko; I want to enjoy the descents, rather than endure them, so that means full suss with sufficient travel without too much weight penalty; say 140mm? It also needs to fit, and being short that probably means 650b wheels (I have a 29er, it's good for most stuff, but I know it's limits, and a long travel 29er would not work for me)
Efficient - more intelligent design that provides comfort & control without wasting energy.
Bag Friendly - not easy on a small FS frame, but a design that allows some bag combos would be preferable to carrying everything on my back.
Cheap - who am I kidding... Will compromise here, but budget is still a factor.
Light - enough said.

I know there is some considerable experience here in this area, so what would you recommend? I expect the 2018 bikes will be announced soon, and expect new 'efficient' FS designs to feature this year, although being an early adopter of innovative technology has its own risks!

benp1
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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by benp1 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:04 pm

Have a look at the cycle surgery sale, some bargains to be had there

Personally, I really like the look of the Cotic FS bikes

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ZeroDarkBivi
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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by ZeroDarkBivi » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:20 pm

Cotic Rocket look nice, but like many similar bikes, the shock location means no chance of using a frame bag.

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Bearbonesnorm
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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:27 pm

Cotic Rocket look nice, but like many similar bikes, the shock location means no chance of using a frame bag.
Won't you be more inclined to use a small rucksack rather than a frame bag in this situation?
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PaulB2
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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by PaulB2 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:43 pm

You could fit a partial frame bag like a wild cat ocelot couldn't you?

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Mariner
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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by Mariner » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:53 pm

I'd have a 2017 Deadwood.
Does not meet your spec but I would still have a Deadwood. :roll:

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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by Blair512 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:29 pm

I have a Giant Trance 4, it's 140mm, converted to 1x10 and great for comfy bike packing. The maestro suspension system leaves room for a small alpkit possum and a 500ml bottle, a seat pack k and bar bag are usually enough to ditch the backpack unless it's winter.

Mines the low end model so cheap suspension let's it down but some off the higher end models featuring fox could be what your after
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ZeroDarkBivi
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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by ZeroDarkBivi » Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:04 pm

Bearbonesnorm wrote:
Cotic Rocket look nice, but like many similar bikes, the shock location means no chance of using a frame bag.
Won't you be more inclined to use a small rucksack rather than a frame bag in this situation?
Yes to small backpack - probably my Osprey Talon 22, but a framebag would be nice if big enough to carry a bladder plus some other small bits. Small frames are limited, but rear suspension design can make it much worse; my Spearfish can fit a framebag, but only a very small seat pack.
Mariner wrote:I'd have a 2017 Deadwood.
Does not meet your spec but I would still have a Deadwood. :roll:
No, definitely wouldn't suit me. Have you used one in the high Alps?

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ScotRoutes
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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by ScotRoutes » Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:22 pm

The Occam AM30 that CycleSurgery are selling has a very compact shock placement. My medium certainly has room for a decent sized frame bag. It's also a stunning bargain.

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In Reverse
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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by In Reverse » Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:37 pm

I'm just back from a trip to the Alps on a full susser (140mm travel, long-wheelbase 29er, I found it well suited tbf). Having snapped the frame on that I'm now shopping for a bike to perform a similar job to what you're looking for. My thoughts, for what they're worth:

- I'll be carrying nothing on the bike other than a bar roll - chances are the most interesting trails are going to have some long pushes and carrying.
- Snapping your frame miles from home sucks balls. The new bike will be steel or carbon.
- 650B+ is a distinct possibility, or the option of it at least. Some of the grip on the dry trails was a bit skittish.

I think I'll end with an enduro bike that's a decent climber:
- a Cotic RocketMAX (although they have an alloy rear triangle)
- a Pole Evolink 140
- a Starling Murmur

benp1 wrote:Have a look at the cycle surgery sale, some bargains to be had there
This is very true. The Spec B+ is tempting.

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ZeroDarkBivi
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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by ZeroDarkBivi » Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:50 pm

ScotRoutes wrote:The Occam AM30 that CycleSurgery are selling has a very compact shock placement. My medium certainly has room for a decent sized frame bag. It's also a stunning bargain.
Nice looking ride, but only Med left in the sale - I need a small and beyond the point of making the wrong size fit because it's a bargain!
In Reverse wrote:although they have an alloy rear triangle
Not necessarily a bad thing; that area is prone to impacts that would crack a carbon tube.

Don't see any Cotic on the CS website...

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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by mtbmarkymark » Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:59 pm

I have just bought a new Alps bike. Not for bikepacking but it ticks most of your boxes i thinks even the B+. I may have misjudged your budget but....
Check out the Ibis HD3 Sram NX 2017 @ UBYK.co.uk Drivechain & brakes nothing special but frame / shock / forks / wheels all excellent
The Ibis HD3 is 160mm travel but the Ibis Mojo is similar and 140mm travel and there some available elsewhere at good prices

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gairym
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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by gairym » Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:03 pm

*Trigger warning: I'm being jovially flippant and playing devils advocate for fun so here's goes.....

'Alpine bike'???

Don't go blaming the Alps for you fancying a shiny new bike!

Always amuses me that we spend so much money on bouncy bikes in order to make hard trails easier only to then seek out even harder trails in order to justify ever more expensive and sillier high tech bikes (to make those trails easier).

I live in them there high Alps and I ride mostly on my steel hardtail. The bouncy bike gets very little fresh air due to simply not being needed.

When we rode the second half of the TMB together I kept up with you on your Spearfish on my Solaris.

My two cents is that any trails that truly warrant a 'proper' full-sus bike would be compromised massively by the addition of bikepacking gear. Tech trail visibility impaired by bar bag, inability to get off the back of the saddle due to a seat pack, cumbersome handling etc...

You tend to find much more kit on backs in these hills than on bikes for a reason and so something like the Cotic might not be a bad option (I'm a big fan of their bikes).

Having said all that, I'm sure you'll have a blast on whatever 3ndur0 bike you get!

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htrider
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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by htrider » Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:02 pm

What he said but if you must (and why not?) I'd be looking at Oranges. No stupid linkages, no cruddy placcy / aluminium bushings to keep weight down just a nice single pivot (bearings cost around £15 and last for years), stiff, strong and an ability to destroy all in its path. There is a lot of bullsh*t out there about them having feedback from the brakes and too much bounce on the pedals but in reality you don't notice this. I had a patriot and a five for many years and I didn't. I sold them 'cos I got bored of hammering every hill in my path :mrgreen: I'm a committed rigid rider these days but if I ever decided to go back to a bouncer it would be a stage 5 or 6. A tangle bag or similar will go in the frame.

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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by ianfitz » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:40 pm

I've ridden a bit in the Alps. Albeit with the context of a three-weeks-every-summer family holidays. But often have a two day trip out. As well as some long days.

The last two years has been on the spearfish. Add a dropper post, and way more grippy tyres than I'd ever ride in the uk will make it go down stuff I wouldn't usually. I'd be quicker down some trails with more travel for sure. But would get myself into more dodgy situations too. And I wouldn't ride out of them all. Not sure it'd be wise for me.

There's always a few bits that I can't ride oin the spearfish. Maybe a few more of them would be doable on a slacker, longer travel bike. But I'm not sure I'd have enough more fun to justify the cash.

Maybe an adjustable headset is worth a look. I run some fairly burly carbon rims any way so they are solid. But that's worth a look if you have race-weight wheels.

I would love to spend more time riding this sort of ground though :-bd
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In Reverse
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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by In Reverse » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:05 am

You're not wrong on a lot of that ^^ Gairy, but you're missing the fun factor in there - it's not about making hard trails easier, it's about making them more fun :-bd . That Col du balme to Trient descent you pointed me to for example - steep, twisty and techy but perfectly rideable on a hardtail (or a rigid for that matter) but undeniably a lot more fun throwing your weight around on a susser with a decent amount of travel. I was on the hire bike at that point (150mm travel) and it was an absolute blast.

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gairym
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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by gairym » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:41 am

For sure but.....

My fastest time on that descent was done on my Rooster (rigid 29+).

I've never been convinced that using full suspension to turn a trail with a difficulty of 10/10 into 7/10 would be any more fun than riding a trail with a difficulty of 8/10 on a hardtail with the fork turning it into 7/10???

I LOVE the tech trails around here and if anything I prefer them on my hardtail or rigid 29+ as they're even harder.

And once you start strapping bikepacking kit to the faster, (arguably) more fun bouncy bike it suddenly becomes slower and less fun which is where the idea loses appeal for me.

But that's just me. If bwapping at hyper speed down alpine trails is what you fancy then a nice 'duro bicycle is what you need......

.....and those folks generally use big backpacks instead of soft bikepacking luggage. I'll shut up now.

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In Reverse
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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by In Reverse » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:54 am

gairym wrote: I've never been convinced that using full suspension to turn a trail with a difficulty of 10/10 into 7/10 would be any more fun than riding a trail with a difficulty of 8/10 on a hardtail with the fork turning it into 7/10???
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ZeroDarkBivi
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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by ZeroDarkBivi » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:56 pm

In Reverse wrote:You're not wrong on a lot of that ^^ Gairy, but you're missing the fun factor in there - it's not about making hard trails easier, it's about making them more fun :-bd . That Col du balme to Trient descent you pointed me to for example - steep, twisty and techy but perfectly rideable on a hardtail (or a rigid for that matter) but undeniably a lot more fun throwing your weight around on a susser with a decent amount of travel. I was on the hire bike at that point (150mm travel) and it was an absolute blast.
Absolutely.

I realise I am trying to compensate for lack of skill by using better / more appropriate technology, because I want to do the long routes out there within the limited time I have. If you really want to challenge yourself, why not just use a crosser? Are your plus tyres not just cheating yourself? OK, I am being devils advocate here, but I am not one of those people who wants to make something more difficult than it already is (climbing culture?), to prove something to myself, or anybody else; this is just an exercise in fun for me. I don't have any sprogs, so this stuff is more than my hobby, it is my motivation for doing a dull job, so I don't begrudge spending the money that job pays on something I want rather than need.

Perhaps what I really need is a fundamental lifestyle change, but that's a bit harder than buying a new bike...!

Anyway, thanks for the feedback, it is all appreciated. The point about bags is a good one - I would like to use a frame bag for water and other heavy bits (keep the CoG low), but bar and seat bags not such a good idea. Using huts would reduce what I need to take anyway.

Garry - I would love to do some more riding with you in your Alpine playground, but I understand you have a few plates spinning just now!

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ZeroDarkBivi
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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by ZeroDarkBivi » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:07 pm

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Last edited by ZeroDarkBivi on Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

DoctorRad
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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by DoctorRad » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:27 pm

ZeroDarkBivi wrote:Cotic Rocket look nice, but like many similar bikes, the shock location means no chance of using a frame bag.
For the Rocket - or indeed any other bike with a highly sloped top tube - a full-length on-the-top-of-the-top-tube bag might be an option instead of a frame bag.

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gairym
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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by gairym » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:35 pm

ZeroDarkBivi wrote:I realise I am trying to compensate for lack of skill by using better / more appropriate technology, because I want to do the long routes out there within the limited time I have. If you really want to challenge yourself, why not just use a crosser? Are your plus tyres not just cheating yourself? OK, I am being devils advocate here, but I am not one of those people who wants to make something more difficult than it already is (climbing culture?), to prove something to myself, or anybody else; this is just an exercise in fun for me.
Totally fair enough, I was just throwing ideas out there for consideration. And don't put yourself down, you're not compensating for anything, you can clearly handle a bike based on what I saw on that little trip!
ZeroDarkBivi wrote:Garry - I would love to do some more riding with you in your Alpine playground, but I understand you have a few plates spinning just now!
Yeah, this year is a bit mad but next summer.....

I'll probably not now be putting on the Deux Batards event in the near future but it'd be great to do an informal (non-organised, non-event) group trip based on those two routes next year (with an open invite to folks on here).

Obviously only fully rigid pre-1990 bikes will be allowed :-bd

Anyway, good luck in your search for a new bike fella!

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ZeroDarkBivi
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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by ZeroDarkBivi » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:29 pm

I definitely ride much more cautiously since breaking my back in Canada, and need something more comfortable on long rides as a result!
DoctorRad wrote:For the Rocket - or indeed any other bike with a highly sloped top tube - a full-length on-the-top-of-the-top-tube bag might be an option instead of a frame bag.
I recently removed the Gas Tank from the front of my bike for riding more techy trails, as I was fed up whacking my nuts on it when I had to dismount in a hurry. Short legs and big frames do not play well together!

I have enjoyed my Salsa Spearfish for XC type riding, so maybe I should take a look at the beefier, 650b Redpoint, although there are not many for sale in the uk, so no summer bargains...

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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:43 pm

Obviously only fully rigid pre-1990 bikes will be allowed
Maybe not pre-1990 but if you could make it rigid only, that'd be great :-bd
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ZeroDarkBivi
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Re: Alpine Bike

Post by ZeroDarkBivi » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:57 pm

Bearbonesnorm wrote:
Obviously only fully rigid pre-1990 bikes will be allowed
Maybe not pre-1990 but if you could make it rigid only, that'd be great :-bd
You might as well leave it unassembled it in the travel-bag to make the carrying easier...

Has nobody else seen this phot:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXEQmXolCGo/

Rigid + Serious Mountains = Broken Rider. And that guy has talent & resilience in abundance.

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