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Help with basic upgrades

slc123slc123 Posts: 407
edited September 2017 in MTB buying advice
Hi all,

I have a cannondale Trail 4, which I've used for a couple of years mainly in local woods with single track and XC. I've done a couple of minor upgrades (tyres, wheels and pedals)

I decided to go for a bit of a step up and went over to the Forest of Dean and rode the trails over there. Damn good fun, but I did feel the bike and my skills were put to the test on some of the more technical areas on the red trail.

The things I noticed most were the seat position in the climbs and downhill. The obvious upgrade would be to get a dropper seat post to give me the flexibility. I've had a look and I have a 27.2 diameter, so options seem limited.

Secondly, the bike was pretty twitchy over some of the more rooty technical areas. Reading reviews on the bike it seems to suggest it doesn't handle that sort of thing that well due to narrow handlebars, so I am thinking that might be a worthwhile upgrade?

Lastly, the front forks were taking a bit of a pounding on certain areas, but I am not sure I would be in a position to upgrade those in terms of cost at this stage. It's got the factory fitted RockShox XC30 currently.

Any advice would be appreciated.
Cannondale Trail 27.5 | 2015
Titus El Chulo 27.5 | 2017
Trek Slash 9 27.5 | 2015 (building)

Posts

  • larkimlarkim Posts: 2,386
    Sounds like you've got your head screwed on with those proposals. Whilst I've not got a dropped, my son reports that it is the single best thing he's ever bought for his bike, and I'd reckon is one of the most noticeable "upgrades" as you genuinely get something you've not had before.

    Bars / stem (worth throwing that in) is also a reasonably cost effective change from which you should be able to feel a difference in handling. Whether you like it or not once you've put it in place is another matter, but sounds like its worth a try.

    A better fork is definitely something worth looking into, but you might find it cost prohibitive. At the least you'd be looking at some sort of air fork which is going to start (new) at about £160. Suntour air forks offer some good pricing and are well received, RS forks are good at that end but tend to be a bit pricier.

    If I had £200 to spend, I'd go for dropper and bars over fork at this stage. Others might disagree.
    2015 Canyon Nerve AL 6.0 (son #1's)
    2011 Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc (son #3s)
    2013 Decathlon Triban 3 (red) (mine)
    2019 Hoy Bonaly 26" Disc (son #2s)
    2018 Voodoo Bizango (mine)
    2018 Voodoo Maji (wife's)
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Bars and stem can be done fairly cost effectively using ebay and taking someone's cast offs.

    Personally I'd go with a fork over the dropper, it helps in all riding, the XC30 struggles with stiffness as well on 29ers (which I'm presuming yours is), a used RS Reba or SID off ebay/classifieds would be my first point of call.

    You can get 27.2mm inline droppers not to expensive as they are older 'crotch' droppers Raleigh did one that was pretty good for circa £90. If you need layback it's less easy to find.
  • vrsmattvrsmatt Posts: 156
    The Rookie wrote:
    Bars and stem can be done fairly cost effectively using ebay and taking someone's cast offs.

    Personally I'd go with a fork over the dropper, it helps in all riding, the XC30 struggles with stiffness as well on 29ers (which I'm presuming yours is), a used RS Reba or SID off ebay/classifieds would be my first point of call.

    You can get 27.2mm inline droppers not to expensive as they are older 'crotch' droppers Raleigh did one that was pretty good for circa £90. If you need layback it's less easy to find.


    I managed to find a 27.2 reverb a couple of years ago for my last bike so hunt around on the internet
    Giant TCR Composite 1, Giant Defy Advanced 2, Boardman Comp, Santa Cruz Heckler, Raleigh M-Trax Ti, Strida LT, Giant Halfway
  • slc123slc123 Posts: 407
    Thanks for the feedback.

    The bike is a 27.5 not a 29er. Although from reading the stiffness seems to be a genuine issue. Ultimately it would make sense as an upgrade. I'll keep my eyes on eBay see what is available.

    I've also read that the stem length can make a fair difference to the responsiveness and mine is currently 100mm, so I am guessing that would be worth changing to something smaller. I'll check out the options on eBay for the bars and stem.

    I did have a look at new options and the Ragley wiser bars and Stem seem pretty sensible in terms of costs and get decent reviews. Any opinions?
    Cannondale Trail 27.5 | 2015
    Titus El Chulo 27.5 | 2017
    Trek Slash 9 27.5 | 2015 (building)
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    VRSMatt wrote:
    The Rookie wrote:
    Bars and stem can be done fairly cost effectively using ebay and taking someone's cast offs.

    Personally I'd go with a fork over the dropper, it helps in all riding, the XC30 struggles with stiffness as well on 29ers (which I'm presuming yours is), a used RS Reba or SID off ebay/classifieds would be my first point of call.

    You can get 27.2mm inline droppers not to expensive as they are older 'crotch' droppers Raleigh did one that was pretty good for circa £90. If you need layback it's less easy to find.


    I managed to find a 27.2 reverb a couple of years ago for my last bike so hunt around on the internet

    Really? AFAIK RS have never made a 27.2 post.
    I don't do smileys.

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  • No harm in a shorter stem, 100mm is very long, may be pick up a cheap or second hand one about half the length, it's a pretty cheap thing to try out.

    Same goes for bars too. Plenty of people swap and change so you should be able to a reasonable one cheap second hand.

    I would say though, with things like that, just change one thing at a time as if you change a few things and you like it, great, but if it's not quite right it's difficult to figure out why, as with both bars and stems it's not just about length, stems have various degrees of rise, handle bars also rise and back sweep, so there are a few variables to consider.

    Forks have been the single biggest upgrade to my bike, I went from simmilary cheap coil forks to a ~£200 air fork, which is a fair chunk of cash for me.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    cooldad wrote:
    VRSMatt wrote:
    The Rookie wrote:
    Bars and stem can be done fairly cost effectively using ebay and taking someone's cast offs.

    Personally I'd go with a fork over the dropper, it helps in all riding, the XC30 struggles with stiffness as well on 29ers (which I'm presuming yours is), a used RS Reba or SID off ebay/classifieds would be my first point of call.

    You can get 27.2mm inline droppers not to expensive as they are older 'crotch' droppers Raleigh did one that was pretty good for circa £90. If you need layback it's less easy to find.


    I managed to find a 27.2 reverb a couple of years ago for my last bike so hunt around on the internet

    Really? AFAIK RS have never made a 27.2 post.
    CD you are correct.
  • slc123slc123 Posts: 407
    Hey guys,

    Thanks for all the input. Bars and stems are next on the list then and will keep my eyes open for second hand 27.2 dropper and some new forks!

    Other than Ebay any other good used parts places?
    Cannondale Trail 27.5 | 2015
    Titus El Chulo 27.5 | 2017
    Trek Slash 9 27.5 | 2015 (building)
  • vrsmattvrsmatt Posts: 156
    cooldad wrote:
    VRSMatt wrote:
    The Rookie wrote:
    Bars and stem can be done fairly cost effectively using ebay and taking someone's cast offs.

    Personally I'd go with a fork over the dropper, it helps in all riding, the XC30 struggles with stiffness as well on 29ers (which I'm presuming yours is), a used RS Reba or SID off ebay/classifieds would be my first point of call.

    You can get 27.2mm inline droppers not to expensive as they are older 'crotch' droppers Raleigh did one that was pretty good for circa £90. If you need layback it's less easy to find.


    I managed to find a 27.2 reverb a couple of years ago for my last bike so hunt around on the internet

    Really? AFAIK RS have never made a 27.2 post.

    You're right, I've just checked, it was 30.9. My bad
    Giant TCR Composite 1, Giant Defy Advanced 2, Boardman Comp, Santa Cruz Heckler, Raleigh M-Trax Ti, Strida LT, Giant Halfway
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