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Out with old in with the new?


Charity85
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I currently have a Titan Sonic Pro 2017, the bicycle has served me well over the last six months, but my riding needs have changed over the last 4 months. I initially did you run of the mill trails, but have since then joined JMBC and do regular rides with Woesrand out here in the Wesrand Jhb. The trails are predominantly mild but they do get pretty rowdy from time to time, and as I have been riding with the more advanced groups I have started to note the limitations of the sonic (as mentioned awesome bike but you can see it has XC in mind). I have now come across a Scott Spark 970 2019 brilliant nick and at a bargain price point. I only have two concerns the frame size is Large and I'm 1.9m (on the chart I could find I'm exactly on the line between L / XL) and secondly I believe it fall under Scott's trail bike series but with 120mm travel compared to the 100mm on the sonic is it that more capable. Any advise will be greatly appreciated

Edited by Charity85
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Howzit, one problem with cycling is that you can outgrow your 'present' bike quickly if you progress well and get fit quickly.

As you grow in the sport so your needs can change. If you enjoy racing XC and think you'll do well then you'll be looking more towards a lightweight carbon bike. Take your age into consideration and how much time you can realistically put into the sport. A more trail orientated bike can be a lot more capable on fun trails but not so great in high speed Xc racing. Often we make a compromise due to price and availability of a good deal. You'll have to make a decision on your direction. But no bike is perfect for all situations. I'm guessing that most people start with a hard tail then upgrade to a dual suspension. Then a road bike is considered and then maybe a tri bike...it sometimes doesn't stop. Good luck with your decision making...

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I agree with cap, I'm 2m and I'm to big for a XL, MABYE and it's a big maybe, you could get away with wider bars, longer stem and mount the seat further back,.. But I wouldn't take that chance..

Edited by Darrynbp
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Those Sparks are great bikes for Joburg type riding. At 1.9 meters an XL is your size, same as a beanpole mate of mine who is also 190cm. Bear in mind that the 970 is the base model and you might start pushing the limits of the drivetrain and spindly fork quite quickly

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I agree with cap, I'm 2m and I'm to big for a XL, MABEYE and it's a big maybe, you could get away with wider bars, longer stem and mount the seat further back,.. But I wouldn't take that chance..

 

Longer stem and seat further back will give you a bike that's still too small, but now also handles and pedals badly.

 

OP, get one that's the right size. Many a sale to be had in the next few months.

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Longer stem and seat further back will give you a bike that's still too small, but now also handles and pedals badly.

 

OP, get one that's the right size. Many a sale to be had in the next few months.

 

Agreed, that's why I said it's a big maybe and not something I would try..

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Just a note, my sister bought a secondhand titan hardtail online. Medium, because that was the size of her giant. When it arrived it was to big. I measured the bike and it was exactly the same size as my large silverback sola. If you change brand make sure of the size. They are not all the same.

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Out of interest, what is making you feel that the bike is limiting you? Do you feel you don't have enough grip in the corners? Getting bounced around on technical climbs or descents? Can't clear jumps? Arse getting sore riding rough terrain? Feel like you're going to be bucked over the handlebars on descents?

 

Reason I'm asking is that all of these issues above can be mitigated, or solved completely, by improving your technique. Sure, a dual sus with a bit more travel is going to give you an easier out if you make a mistake. Since you've only been riding six months however, and knowing that our trails in GP rarely need a larger travel bike, you might just be running out of skill not out of bike.

 

Just have a look at XCO racing from the last few years and what those guys can ride on nervous, tall seatpost, 100mm hardtails with skinny low grip tyres.

 

Not trying to stop you from buying a new bike, hell, I'd love a Spark for myself. Just giving you an alternative opinion.

Edited by TyronLab
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Out of interest, what is making you feel that the bike is limiting you? Do you feel you don't have enough grip in the corners? Getting bounced around on technical climbs or descents? Can't clear jumps? Arse getting sore riding rough terrain? Feel like you're going to be bucked over the handlebars on descents?

 

Reason I'm asking is that all of these issues above can be mitigated, or solved completely, by improving your technique. Sure, a dual sus with a bit more travel is going to give you an easier out if you make a mistake. Since you've only been riding six months however, and knowing that our trails in GP rarely need a larger travel bike, you might just be running out of skill not out of bike.

 

Just have a look at XCO racing from the last few years and what those guys can ride on nervous, tall seatpost, 100mm hardtails with skinny low grip tyres.

 

Not trying to stop you from buying a new bike, hell, I'd love a Spark for myself. Just giving you an alternative opinion.

Because they have the skills to be able to make up for the lack of stability, steep angles and lack of grip. 

 

OP wants something more trail bike-ey and less XC-ey. Something that inspires confidence instead of something that tries to buck you faster than a wild stallion and requires more skill to tame. . 

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There will always be the 'you can ride anything on any trail with the right skill' gang...

 

I used to be part of it. You can also run comrades barefoot and swim in 0' water in a speedo and surf double overhead heaving low tide Hoek on a fish....... BUT it's not comfortable and it's not as enjoyable as using the right tools and modern technology for the job.

 

A slightly slacker bike with better suspension will definitely inspire confidence and growth as a rider.

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100% agreed with both of your posts. There's just a difference in stating you want a more relaxed bike because you want one, and saying that your bike is "limiting" you.

 

Hey, buy a 160mm big hitter even if you only want to ride gravel in complete plush (example being carlog doing munga on a FS 140mm plus bike), its your money. Just be aware that upskilling can make any bike you ride nicer to ride.

 

Buying a plus bike with a dropper made me a lot less shitty at flat dirt turns. Spending two hours doing figure-8 body position drills on a patch of gravel made a much bigger difference.

 

Back on topic, 

The Spark is a great bike and very popular up here on the reef (that and Spez Epics). I'll echo that an XL will probably fit you better. I will also say that no matter which bike you end up going for budget for a dropper post if it isn't included. It makes a massive difference to your confidence level on the bike when things get rough. 

 

As an aside, don't discount hardtails that have large tyre clearance. You'll most likely get a better overall bike than for a similarly priced full sus and sticking some larger tyres on makes a massive difference in comfot. I moved from a 100mm fork, 2.1" tyred 29er to a 120mm fork, 2.8 tyred 27.5 bike and the difference in comfort was massive.

Edited by TyronLab
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100% agreed with both of your posts. There's just a difference in stating you want a more relaxed bike because you want one, and saying that your bike is "limiting" you.

 

Hey, buy a 160mm big hitter even if you only want to ride gravel in complete plush (example being carlog doing munga on a FS 140mm plus bike), its your money. Just be aware that upskilling can make any bike you ride nicer to ride.

 

Buying a plus bike with a dropper made me a lot less shitty at flat dirt turns. Spending two hours doing figure-8 body position drills on a patch of gravel made a much bigger difference.

In most cases, especially with beginners, having an XC hardtail is definitely a limiting factor in skills development. They just don't inspire confidence when you ride them (generally speaking) and that doesn't translate to wanting to try things you're not entirely comfortable with. 

 

A bike with more relaxed geo, even if it's still a hardtail, would be far more confidence inspiring. 

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my 2 cents

 

I always found the debate between XC HT vs Dual Sus trail bike interesting for a rider still developing their skill and fitness.

 

I still find myself in that boat.

 

Interesting case study and anecdotal experience ,

 

Me and two other riders went through this experience and chose different paths. We all started riding around the the same time and all on budget entry level HT.

 

Friend 1 was always conservative and more risk adverse rider and stayed clear away from single tracks. He ended up upgrading to a Spez Camber and that has allowed him the confidence to at least ride Blue graded trails.

 

Friend 2 was like me, more of a thrill seeker but no where near as strong or fit as me. Upgraded to a Trek Fuel Ex because felt the HT was beating him up. 

 

Me, just upgraded to another budget HT and just kept pushing the boundaries and developed my skills over time.

 

In the end, neither my two friends are interested in ever "downgrading" to another HT but I am constantly glossing at the classifieds looking for a dual sus 

 

So my take away is that if you are interested  in Marathon XC racing,  you can buy a HT bike or keep your existing bike and develop your skills as much as you want but we are not Pro XC riders and in the end you may always wonder how much better the ride would be if you had upgraded to a more capable bike. 

 

EDIT: However do not fall into the other extreme with going full enduro bike if you only ever ride single diamond black and blue trails - Thats overbiking and a whole other topic on its own.

Edited by YaseenEnos
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