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good first DH bike?

Feb 2, 2008
20
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I used to race BMX and have riddin motocross all of my live (now 25yr old) did some riding on a old FSR and had a blast. Would love to pick up a DH bike but have no idea which ones to look for or stay away from and with prices ranging from 600 to 6000 its hard to tell. I don't need something super exotic but would also love to race this summer and not be handicapped from the start. Thanks for your help.
Reid
 

sanjuro

Tube Smuggler
Sep 13, 2004
17,411
0
SF
Specialized Big Hit - around $2k and a lot of privateers racers choose it over the more expensive Demo.
 

Eren

Turbo Monkey
Mar 18, 2006
2,874
0
mill creek, WA (now in Surrey UK)
big hit is a good beginners bike.
Mongoose ec-d. probly the BEST priced bike, damn good parts for the price, around 3k. pretty top of the line, vivid, boxxer team, juicies, etc.


a price range would help, gives an idea of what bikes to suggest

or transition blindside :) also a great bike, much cheaper than other Dh rigs out there. .
 

DirtyMike

Turbo Fluffer
Aug 8, 2005
14,366
944
My own world inside my head
I am not fond of either the Bighit or the Demo's. The lory is a great bike, so is a Sunday. You can also go with something like a blindside, or the ECD. There are alot of choices, probably the first thing to do is to figure out how much you want to spend, Other than shocks, remember your components ARE going to wear out and get broken, so you dont "need" top of the line components right out of the gate. you can go with something equiped with lx, or x7 something like that. If you have a couple friends that SDH, try there bikes out, get a feel for different uspensions if you can. If not, I would sugget something in the 7-8 in range for a first DH bike.
 
Feb 2, 2008
20
0
Would spend 1500 to 2000. I appreciate all your help. Are dh bikes completely unusable to climb with or just a giant pain in the butt?
 
You should probably go used, you could get a used V10 or Sunday for around $2000 or a used Glory or Demo in that range as well. If you want something thats climbable, get a freeride bike it wont be great for climbing or racing but it will be capable of both
 

sanjuro

Tube Smuggler
Sep 13, 2004
17,411
0
SF
Would spend 1500 to 2000. I appreciate all your help. Are dh bikes completely unusable to climb with or just a giant pain in the butt?
Depends on your definition of pain!

Most dh bikes are 40+ lbs, and the cheaper ones could be 45+. The cheaper ones also use less tunable suspension, so there could be a lot of pedal bob. No matter what kind of dh bike you buy, the slack angles hurt you on uphill handling, and if you have a short seatpost, you will not be able to get full leg extension during pedalling.

I have a VP-Free with a double chainring. I can make it up the easy climbs but the steep climbs I push it. A great rider like Mark Weir was doing 10,000 feet of climbing on his VP-Free but you won't see me taking my bike on those kinds of rides.
 

DirtyMike

Turbo Fluffer
Aug 8, 2005
14,366
944
My own world inside my head
With that budget, and wanting to be able to pedal uphill without too much hassle, I would suggest getting a Freeride style frame, something like the Kona or the Dirtbag. You can set it up with a Double chainring system, like a DRS, and run a Longtravel single crown fork with a nice lockout, like a 66 with the ETA system, which locks the fork in a down position, well so to speak, At the same time, your getting a bike with decent travel and strength, but still pedals well, I ride a Dirtbag setup with DRS and a 66eta, Very downhill worthy, but also trail worthy at teh same time, weighin in right at 42 lbs, its a workout pedalling uphil, but not an undoable ride.
 

[Tha]Shovla

Monkey
Aug 28, 2007
119
0
Somewhere over the rainbow
Yeah i would say no to a Demo, AKA the hucker brick .. i like that btw. the Demo is way to big and clumzy to learn on, i did and it was like learning to swim on the 10' side of the pool without your floaties.

A Santa Cruze VP free is a very versatile bike and can be set up a lot of different ways after you get into the sport.

Transition blindside,
Santa Cruze V10
Iron Horse Sunday
Specialized Big hit


Ultimatly i would buy used for your first bike, look on Ride monkey, pick something around 2 years old.

Parts kit recomendation;

Sram drivetrain
Avid, Magura brakes
Fox, marzocchi suspension (coil sprun fork or shock)
 

DirtyMike

Turbo Fluffer
Aug 8, 2005
14,366
944
My own world inside my head
I have a VP-Free with a double chainring. I can make it up the easy climbs but the steep climbs I push it. A great rider like Mark Weir was doing 10,000 feet of climbing on his VP-Free but you won't see me taking my bike on those kinds of rides.
I wish I had the cash to have gotten a VPFree frame when I was looking to get a new ride..... Great bike
 

DHRracer

Monkey
Sep 29, 2004
373
0
I used to race BMX and have riddin motocross all of my live (now 25yr old) did some riding on a old FSR and had a blast. Would love to pick up a DH bike but have no idea which ones to look for or stay away from and with prices ranging from 600 to 6000 its hard to tell. I don't need something super exotic but would also love to race this summer and not be handicapped from the start. Thanks for your help.
Reid
Where abouts do you live?Go to local shops that deal with DH bikes,Go to the forum that might cover your local,try to meet people in person and find some one you feel you can trust,the best people will be the ones that have been around awhile.If you can find a team that much better,there are so many choices and opinons that it will be hard for you to weed thru all of it.The best advice will come from someone with experience and has a chance to get to know you.Don't forget about spare parts,pads,entry fees and travel expenses.Good luck an chances are after a season of racing you will most likely be looking for something different no matter what you buy.
 
Feb 2, 2008
20
0
[Tha]Shovla;2816216 said:
Yeah i would say no to a Demo, AKA the hucker brick .. i like that btw. the Demo is way to big and clumzy to learn on, i did and it was like learning to swim on the 10' side of the pool without your floaties.

A Santa Cruze VP free is a very versatile bike and can be set up a lot of different ways after you get into the sport.

Transition blindside,
Santa Cruze V10
Iron Horse Sunday
Specialized Big hit


Ultimatly i would buy used for your first bike, look on Ride monkey, pick something around 2 years old.

Parts kit recomendation;

Sram drivetrain
Avid, Magura brakes
Fox, marzocchi suspension (coil sprun fork or shock)
Thanks for your help. I really appreciate it. I will look into those and hopefully end up with a dh bike in the next few weeks.
 

PatBranch

Turbo Monkey
Sep 24, 2004
10,460
8
wine country
With that budget, and wanting to be able to pedal uphill without too much hassle, I would suggest getting a Freeride style frame, something like the Kona or the Dirtbag. You can set it up with a Double chainring system, like a DRS, and run a Longtravel single crown fork with a nice lockout, like a 66 with the ETA system, which locks the fork in a down position, well so to speak, At the same time, your getting a bike with decent travel and strength, but still pedals well, I ride a Dirtbag setup with DRS and a 66eta, Very downhill worthy, but also trail worthy at teh same time, weighin in right at 42 lbs, its a workout pedalling uphil, but not an undoable ride.
I agree with getting more of a freeride bike. It would be more versatile and easier to learn on.

I suggest a bullit. They are really good bikes to learn on because they are simple, light, and work well for a lot things (climbing, jumping, etc). If you want more DH geometry after riding it for a while, you could put a shorter shock in the back to lower it and slacken the headangle.

 
Feb 2, 2008
20
0
I owned a Specailized FSR for a while and rode it once at Snoqualmie Pass in WA and had a blast doing downhill. But it was more of a XC bike and i like to jump and the rims are toast, crank is busted. So i'm turning that into a snow bike. I'm want another bike but also would love to race a few dh events. I guess the questions i have are 1)are the free ride bikes mentioned above strong enough to do dh? (rims crank, etc.) and 2)would these bikes be competetive if i was to race dh?
 

PatBranch

Turbo Monkey
Sep 24, 2004
10,460
8
wine country
They are plenty strong enough. The difference is you can do more than DH with them due to less suspension and steeper angles. DH bikes have slacker angles to be faster downhill, but that won't make much of a difference if you are new to DH. A lot of is it the rider, not the bike. In beginner and sport class, freeride bikes should be fine..maybe even in expert if you are really fast.
 

ZHendo

Turbo Monkey
Oct 29, 2006
1,619
96
PNW
the vp free isn't nimble by any means, but it will inspire confidence. where do you ride? there are a lot of people here in norcal that have shorter travel bikes that they use for dh, the bikes are a little more lively and definitely more versatile. something like the bullit would be an example, or if you want something with more DH-ish geometry, the sx trail is great, but i'm biased because i own one.

if you want a longer travel bike, i think the transition blindside might be best because it is still designed with freeriding in mind as opposed to something like the mongoose ecd.
 
i was actually thinking the SX trail myself... while it has less travel than a BigHit(with a Big link) it is way more slacked out and definitley nimble... good all around bike for sure, i've ridden one in many different conditions and loved it... it just wasnt mine...

BigHits are pretty much indestructible and are pretty fun everywhere you go as well...
 
Feb 2, 2008
20
0
One more question. I'm 6'2" and most the bikes i see for sale are all mediums. Do I need to hold out for a large or is there that much difference?
 

ZHendo

Turbo Monkey
Oct 29, 2006
1,619
96
PNW
i personally like longer bikes, but i'm 6'0 and ride a large sx trail. it really depends on your preferences and also the bike design. for example, a large V10 is a monster of a bike, whereas the large sx trail is really not all that huge. a shorter bike will suit you better if you're jumping a lot or if you ride really tight trails, but a longer bike will be better for higher speed riding. check out the thread on shorter vs. longer bikes if you're unsure.
 

DirtyMike

Turbo Fluffer
Aug 8, 2005
14,366
944
My own world inside my head
Im 6 foot, I held out for a large, medium will work well for DH, but for trail riding and pedalling youll want the large, still nimble enough for DH, but will fit you better for longer rides, climbing Etc
 

norbar

Turbo Monkey
Jun 7, 2007
9,852
479
Warsaw :/
I'd go rather Bullit rather than Vp-Free. Crazy high BB makes it very non dh and turn wacky. It's to much of a do it all bike.

But the best would be a used ECD. There was one recently on ebay for a nice price.
 

[Tha]Shovla

Monkey
Aug 28, 2007
119
0
Somewhere over the rainbow
Im 6 foot, I held out for a large, medium will work well for DH, but for trail riding and pedalling youll want the large, still nimble enough for DH, but will fit you better for longer rides, climbing Etc
I would agree, although my statement would contradict :imstupid:

For a pedal bike and something to use all around go large because it will give you the leg room to pedal and the stability at high speeds.

Consiquently ... im 6'2 but skinny as hell, about 175 in full pads and helmet once im down to season peak weight. I have a large demo and its too big, by the time you read this post ill own a Medium single crown VPfree and it will be perfect but it will also be only ridden for freeride and lighter DH so i want soemthing that i can trwo around.
 

[Tha]Shovla

Monkey
Aug 28, 2007
119
0
Somewhere over the rainbow
I'd go rather Bullit rather than Vp-Free. Crazy high BB makes it very non dh and turn wacky. It's to much of a do it all bike. ]

:disgust1::twitch::disgust:

I dont even know where to start on the incorrectness of all the information given in this short post quote .... Your Honor i motion for that to be stricken from the records and the jurry members consideration !
 

norbar

Turbo Monkey
Jun 7, 2007
9,852
479
Warsaw :/
Can what in my opinion is incorrect? Free was meant as a do it all bike. It was advertised as a bike that you can go on a enduro trip, do some drops and then go on a dh race.

And about the BB. Isn't it high? Cuz i kinda don't see your point. It makes the bike not as stable as a dh rig should be and for me it feels funny in the corners.

I know that you want to protect you bike but I'm not telling it's ****(for me it just avreage). It's just not a dh bike.

BTW. If it was so good why are they redesigning it? ;)