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Should I get a Downhill bike?

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9/15/2012 5:01 PM
Edited Date/Time: 4/21/2016 10:21 AM

Hi, I currently ride a Giant Reign X2 with some aftermarket parts so I can (kind of) do DH. I ride mostly at Northstar and I feel the bike is not enough for what I want. I'm wondering if I should get a full on DH bike or if I should just stick with what I have. My dilemma is that I need to be able to do things besides DH, like riding around home on easy trails that are hilly. If I have to, I can ride a DH bike around here, it just has to be fairly lite for a DH bike. So, basically I'm wondering if I should get a DH bike and which one should I get? My budget isn't much (like $1700ish), but I've seen some bikes going for pretty cheap around here. Thanks in advance. (I'm not sure why the pictures came out so bad) Photo

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9/15/2012 10:41 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/15/2012 10:46 PM

i dont think you need to go get a full on DH bike, your bike is fine to ride DH but I would recommend a couple upgrades.
A shorter stem (50mm or shorter), wide low bars (can't tell how wide your bars are from the photos, 720mm or wider), beefier tyres (i recommend Specialized Butchers) and get rid of the front derailleur (unless you really need it), and possibly a head angle changing headset like from here www.workscomponents.co.uk/ to make the head angle slacker. Also you could buy a DH fork if you want but it might make the bike a bit heavy for what you want. These changes should make your bike feel a whole lot better and more comfortable on the downhill without actually having to go buy a full on DH bike. A cheap DH bike will be way to heavy to pedal round all day.

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9/15/2012 10:45 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/15/2012 10:57 PM

oh and get rid of all those spacers under your stem if you can, you want a low front end so your body position is more aggressive which will help the feel of the bike for DH. And dont forget a chainguide if you get rid of the front derailleur.

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9/16/2012 2:04 AM

turningisfun wrote:

oh and get rid of all those spacers under your stem if you can, you want a low front end so your body position is more aggressive which will help the feel of the bike for DH. And dont forget a chainguide if you get rid of the front derailleur.

Ok, thanks. I'll definitely take that into consideration. The rides I do around home are nothing special and usually aren't more than half an hour because I just pedal like crazy to beat my old times. I would just decide to keep my bike, but my main concern is the suspension. It has 160mm travel up front and I'm wondering if that's enough, I like to hit jumps and I like the rocky trails. I've never really ridden a DH bike at Northstar so I'm not sure how well it will perform in what I like to do.

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9/16/2012 2:18 AM

i have a Specialized Bighit with the same travel and ride DH on it. The only reason to buy a full on DH bike is if you were a really serious DH racer, if you mainly ride for fun your bike is more than enough. I've raced some races on my Bighit. And a cheap DH bikes suspension probably isn't going to work a whole lot better than what you have. I mean if you had more money and could get a really nice DH bike then maybe, but I think your better off upgrading with the money you have.

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9/16/2012 10:34 AM

Ok, thanks. I guess I'll probably keep it, I'd still like to hear a couple other opinions too though.

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9/16/2012 11:16 PM
Edited Date/Time: 4/21/2016 10:21 AM

I'll second the shorter stem and wide bar motion. That'll boost the DH shreddability factor of that bike tenfold.

How tall are you? If you're 5'10" or shorter, removing the spacers is also solid advice.

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9/16/2012 11:17 PM

Oh, and consider wrapping your drive-side chainstay with some mastic tape. You can get it at a hardware store. That'll prevent the chain from hitting metal and make it a much quieter ride.

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9/17/2012 5:41 AM

bturman wrote:

Oh, and consider wrapping your drive-side chainstay with some mastic tape. You can get it at a hardware store. That'll prevent the chain from hitting metal and make it a much quieter ride.

Alright, I'll try that. I'm 6'-6'1" tall

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9/17/2012 8:29 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/17/2012 5:56 PM

Try loosing the spacers gradually. At your height, perhaps put half of them on top of the stem at first, see how you like it after a few weeks, then consider moving/removing the others.

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9/17/2012 3:50 PM

I would have to agree with the others. Unless you plan on getting heavily into racing you'll be fine with it. Get a shorter stem (20mm should do the trick), wider bars 750mm would be my choice, chainguide with bash ring and some good DH tires/tubes and you will notice a drastic improvement in your ride. You'd be amazed what a good pair of burley DH tires can do for a bike, they let you bomb harder, crave turns and the stickier compound lets your bike track the ground better which in turn gives you more confidence.

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9/17/2012 4:37 PM

bturman wrote:

Try loosing the spacers gradually. At your height, perhaps put half of them on top of the stem at first, see how you like it after a few weeks, then consider moving/removing the others.

Ok, I'll give that a try. Thanks.

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9/17/2012 4:41 PM

astrizzle wrote:

I would have to agree with the others. Unless you plan on getting heavily into racing you'll be fine with it. Get a shorter stem (20mm should do the trick), wider bars 750mm would be my choice, chainguide with bash ring and some good DH tires/tubes and you will notice a drastic improvement in your ride. You'd be amazed what a good pair of burley DH tires can do for a bike, they let you bomb harder, crave turns and the stickier compound lets your bike track the ground better which in turn gives you more confidence.

Ok; as for how often I ride, this summer I haven't gone too much, but next summer I plan on getting a season pass and doing a few races. I plan on getting more serious about dh in the next few years. So, it's looking like I'm probably going to upgrade my bike.

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9/17/2012 5:57 PM

astrizzle wrote:

I would have to agree with the others. Unless you plan on getting heavily into racing you'll be fine with it. Get a shorter stem (20mm should do the trick), wider bars 750mm would be my choice, chainguide with bash ring and some good DH tires/tubes and you will notice a drastic improvement in your ride. You'd be amazed what a good pair of burley DH tires can do for a bike, they let you bomb harder, crave turns and the stickier compound lets your bike track the ground better which in turn gives you more confidence.

20mm?! That's super short. 50mm is a pretty standard length for DHers. Start there.

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9/18/2012 7:54 PM

What brand of stem and handlebars do you guys recommend? My bars aren't very wide.

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9/18/2012 9:51 PM

theres so many good ones, just find a good deal, (Raceface, Deity, Truvativ, Chromag, Funn.. etc.)

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