Biking: Catch-all

Badferret wrote:

Thank's to Seth Alvo building a bike park 10 minutes from my house, my son has started to get into mountain biking. In an effort to keep up with him while he progresses his riding, I'm looking to upgrade from my vintage rigid Trek 970 to a more modern hardtail.

I have a line on a used Rocky Mountain Soul.

The bike is a large, which according to Rocky Mountain is suited for riders up to 6'2", while I'm 6'3" Considering I'm going to be sticking to green and easy blue single-track and gravel, is it worth trying to make it work for $200?

I love Seth's channels. Especially the bike reselling ones.

Size does matter but it's better to have a bike that's slightly too small than too big. Also, going from a 90s Trek 970 with 26" tires to a newer 27.5 bike the new bike is going to feel bigger give the same general size. When I went from my 930 to a 29er the new bike felt a lot bigger even though both were the same basic size. The only way to tell is to ride it, though. $200 for that bike is a very good price. Bicycle blue book has it at 350-400.

Microshift makes a 1x drivetrain that's not too expensive and pretty good (Specialized/Trek/etc are putting it on $1500 bikes). Personally, I'd upgrade the fork as well. That bike has a lower end coil fork and you can upgrade to a pretty good Rockshox or Suntour air fork for a 2-300.

I would wait to do anything to the bike, though. I'd just ride it as is to make sure it's big enough. For $200 you can always sell it.

I have the microShift Advent X on my Poseidon Redwood and really like it. I don't have loads of experience with other drivetrains, but I my first serious adult bike has older Campagnolo gear on it. The Campy stuff, even circa 2008-era stuff, is really smooth, but part of that is because it's a compact road double chain ring and the cassette range is much narrower. Regarding durability, I was riding a couple months ago on a dirt road and veered too close to the edge (to avoid washboard) and the edge of the dirt just collapsed out from under me. The shifters got a pretty good hit on 'em and after getting the bike serviced they're right as rain.

Thanks for all the feedback everyone! I bought the Soul this morning. Front derailleur doesn't want to smoothly shift into low and the chain is a little long in the tooth but otherwise seems pretty solid, especially for $200.

And EvilHomer, you are absolutely right, it feels massive compared to my old Trek. At some point in the next year I'll rent a XL sized bike and compare the feel but for getting started, this will be much more capable than the 970.

Plan right now is for a tuneup at the local shop as well as chatting with them about switching out to a 1x and further down the road to an air fork. Won't do anything major until after our summer vacation and the fork will probably go on my Christmas list.

Congratulations! Hopefully, the shop doesn't need to do anything major to it.

Also consider getting it fit for you too.




Beautiful weekend for a family bike ride. If you ever get a chance to visit Seattle, heading north on the Cedar River trail starting from Maple Valley library is a great ride with kids. After about 2 miles you reach Cascadia Pizza right along the trail where your can park and have lunch before heading on or heading back.

Looks like a great trail and a ton of fun taking the little ones.

Nice. Yeah we've got a least a couple good for the family rides in our area (with a new one planned and near ready to begin). High Bridge Trail takes an hour to drive to, but is nice because it's nearly flat the whole way as it follows a converted train line and goes over a river with a nice lookout at the point the bridge is 'highest' (it's still a flat bridge) over the river below.

The other trail is about 50 miles long that connects Williamsburg, VA with downtown Richmond that is paved the whole way called the Virginia Capital Trail. I just realized the trail ends very near a locally famous pizza joint I haven't been to in years called Bottom's Up Pizza. The trail even connects to some pathways that then lead into a loop of mountain bike trails that run along the north and south banks of the river and dump into a popular outdoor spot with a bike skills park on Belle Isle. The only problem with the Richmond end of the Capital trail is it gets too hilly for the younger ones until you get out of the city to where it crosses the quasi-beltway for the city, I-295.

First trail ride on the Rocky Mountain, with the installed Advent X.
At the new Gateway Trails in Old Fort, NC. A brand new beginner taste of Pisgah.

I might still add a dropper post (PNW Pine) and will definitely be shopping for grippier tires, as the current xc tires struggled to handle the damp trails. I will also be adding new bars and pedals but that will probably do it as I don't think a new wheel set or fork are justified.

Further out, I'll be watching the direct to consumer brands for a possible 23 purchase but more likely in 24 and sticking to easier trails and gravel in the meantime.

Ordered my first tubeless tires, the fairly economical Continental Cross King with their Black Chili rubber compound. Everything arrived last week.

I'd bought the wrong size tires, confusing the 27.5" <-> 650b relation as 26" <-> 650b.

Correctly sized tires should be here this weekend. I was noodling with doing a local race, something a little less intense than the Ned Gravel I did last year, but while that course was pretty consistently on dirt/gravel roads (with some real chonky bits), the race I'm thinking of doing crosses more goathead territory.

That race is in two weeks, though, and even though registration is still open, I have substantially fewer miles on the saddle this year than last.


What's the worst that can happen if you do the race?


You get a sore butt. If you want to do it and don't worry about anything but having fun.

EvilHomer3k wrote:

What's the worst that can happen if you do the race?


You get a sore butt. If you want to do it and don't worry about anything but having fun.

Oh yeah, I’m never interested in winning it. I kinda like the group ride aspect, which I didn’t get so much last year when I stopped a mile into it to fiddle. But I also don’t know if I wanna do the socializing, so it’s a mixed bag.

I hate that I haven't been able to get out biking nearly as much as I would like to, but today was a good day.




We put in the miles we can.

Whelp. New bike ordered. I'm being completely cliche about my MTB journey.

While I would have loved to have either saved up for an Ibis Ripmo AF or similar 3Kish bike, I decided to pull the trigger on the Siskiu T7. while last year's colorway in on sale for well under 2k.

I've put in about 300 miles on the Rocky Mountain hardtale and progressed to some of the easier Pisgah blacks.

Since I'm not going to be jumping, and sticking to drops of less that foot and half, I figure the budget Rockshox suspension should serve me OK in the medium term.

Longer term, might put on I9s and Fox suspension (lots of take offs always for sale here in Asheville) and then use the takeoffs from this bike to build up a 29er for the boy in a few years, especially if he ends up making his school's MTB team.

Will post a NBD pic in the new year.

Awesome! I've only heard good things about polygon bikes.

Congrats, Badferret. The T7 is a nice bike. I have a D6 and it's been great so far.

EvilHomer3k wrote:

Congrats, Badferret. The T7 is a nice bike. I have a D6 and it's been great so far.

On the one hand, part of me wishes that our local trails were more compatible with down-country bikes like the D6, especially as I have no interest in jump lines. However, I also can't complain about having one of the MTB meccas in my back yard. I've already ridden pretty much every blue trail in the area on my hardtail, and even on a fair amount of them, I've felt pretty beaten up afterwards. I've also had several fellow old geezers tell me that I'm too old to be riding a hardtail.

But, I regret nothing other than only now getting into the sport. It's been a blast getting out there with the 10 year old (who can ride seated over roots and rocks that would send me OTB, but his body evidently has way more built-in suspension than mine.) Plus, I feel like the hardtail has helped me progress pretty quickly in reading trails and picking lines.

Badferret wrote:

I've also had several fellow old geezers tell me that I'm too old to be riding a hardtail.

Crazy thing is, I've encountered at least a few old guys out there running rigid frame MTBs this year on the local trail system at Pocahontas State Park, but they're also generally more flow oriented and have a lot less rocks / roots.

When you learn on a hardtail you learn how to be your own suspension. When you learn on FS I think you get lazy. I learned on a fully rigid bike back in the 90s but the trails here are pretty easy overall. They have some tough parts but other than switchbacks and roots the only difficult things are man-made features. Though realistically, they were good enough that I was able to go down a double black diamond trail in Evergreen, CO (though I skipped the really big drops and jumps). Anyway, I'm sure you learned more riding a hardtail than if you'd started with the FS to begin with.

I've been riding on the T7 as much as winter has allowed for a couple of months.

Today I checked off the first of hopefully many of WNC's iconic trails:


Green's Lick.

Would like to ride Kitsuma, the Blacks, Trace Ridge and Heartbreak during the next year.

I really love the paint job on that bike.

I promise I won't post every time I ride one of these trails, but I'm particularly proud of this one. Watching Kistuma videos when I first started getting into mountain biking less than a year ago, both blew my mind that such a cool trail was nearby and seemed completely beyond the realm of my comprehension that I could ride it.

And now I have.

Taking a break at point lookout on the six mile climb. At least it's paved.

At the trailhead for the actual single track. The next time I pedal the whole loop, I think I will start here.

At the top.

Was hike a bike all the way up for me, though I know some riders can clear the climb. There was one more major hike a bike section to a second peak. Downhill was fun, right on the edge of my comfort level, combining some really steep sections with small drops and tight switchbacks. I made it down safely but had to take several breaks for arm pump and leg fatigue.

Based on my time in college in Blacksburg, VA riding up and down Brush Mountain, I'd much rather get the climb done first and then the downhill, and not climb back to the end. I feel about the same at my main local trails, where the only option at the main parking lot is climbing to the end, but the climbs are much much more subdued here in the central VA.

That was my thinking for this ride, but I didn't factor in the hike-a-bike sections for the two peaks draining me so much. Will probably just use my wife's shuttle service the next few times I ride it, then maybe do the whole loop again in the fall.

So, can I be one of the cool kids now?


I used to bike a lot but haven't for well over a decade now because of my family's health issues, but I am finally in a place where I am getting out again. I've done some hikes and decided to get back into biking again.

It's an entry-level city bike from REI to ease me back in. (And I'm older now, too. :D), but the guy said this would be good for gravel and most of the bike trails around the city.

And we have a surprising number of nice trails around us, for being in a major city. I did eight miles yesterday on the Noonday Creek trail near me just to break it in.

I want to take it over to the Silver Comet trail. That's a 61-mile trail that runs from Atlanta to the Alabama state line.

And we have the Beltline, which is a 22-mile loop around downtown.

Now, I just need to get the GoPro mount sorted out.

Edit: This is it, btw...

Awesome! Welcome to the club.

That bike should be great for the trails you mentioned and good for any crushed limestone/gravel trails. I think it would even handle some basic singletrack as well. Make sure to look into bike maintenance, especially cleaning and lubing the chain. Half of the issues people have with bikes are due to a poorly maintained drivetrain (chain, cassette, front chainrings).

I get free basic maintenance for a year.

Grats on the new bike, enjoy your trip down the rabbit hole!

If you wanna try your hand at mountain biking, I've heard great things about Mulberry Gap they can guide, shuttle and help with a rental.

If you make it up to WNC, there is plenty of great gravel in addition to the singletrack. I'd be happy to give you some recommendations.