Not a beginner...but out of touch for some time


Apr 2, 2019
I have been riding most of my life (30+ years). I rode and raced XC and off road, dipping into mild FR and DH stuff with my Trek Liquid. Around 2003, nasty wreck, lots of broken stuff, and I never really got back into the saddle comfortably (the frame was now not sized well for me). I did start racing TT on the road and riding road, a lot. So, I would say that the last time I was into the dirt world was around 2005. That was a long time ago and a LOT has changed. 29" wheels were just coming out and were largely seen as a gimmick.

The time has come for me to get back into the woods but things have progressed so much that I do not know where to begin. The Bible is an entertaining read but they are blowing up a lot of bikes that are WAY out of my budget. I am looking for a starting line for my research.

- Budget ~$2500
- I am 6'3" and when I was racing tri, I had a Retul fit done so here are my numbers
Stack- 24.02" Reach- 22.45" Saddle height- 33.5"
- I am open to hardtail and full suspension bikes. Fat tire and plus size never existed when I was riding. 2.1- 2.2 was big
- I want to ride and have a competent enough spec to take some beating and room to upgrade everything but the frame, if need be.
- I live in Va so we have ups and downs, some hike a bike sections, rocks, mud, roots, and more rocks and roots.

So, where should I be looking? I am open to hardtails with plus size tires as they seem to offer some 'suspension' and I grew up racing and riding hard tails so I am comfortable with their drawbacks and advantages.



Turbo Monkey
Welcome JM. In order to help you and give the best possible help in this situation, i think we will need a little more info so Ill just start with the basics here...

Do you like gladiator movies and/or have you ever been to a Turkish prison?


Apr 2, 2019
Hmmmm, Ive not been to a Turkish prison but am a public high school teacher so I think I could handle it. I do believe that Gladiator is one of Crowes best films and an infinitely rewatchable movie.


Apr 2, 2019
I want to know if he’s ever been inside of a cockpit!
I have been inside a cockpit (my sister and BIL are both USMC helo pilots) and I have bummed some time in one of their simulators to demonstrate how awesome I am at crashing on the flight decks of carriers. Does that count?


Jun 11, 2009
East Bay, Cali
Budget ~$2500
My advice is to cruise the local classified (Pink Bike, Facebook, and Craigslist) for lightly used full suspension "trail" bikes. Aim for something 2 to 3 years old that hasn't been ridden much. The full suspension bikes have come so far in the last 10 years that it doesn't make sense to buy a hardtail for trail riding any more. It's gonna be a bit tough since you'll need an XL, but with some patience you should be able to find something good.

For all around riding I'd recommend looking for a bike with 140mm or 150mm of travel (130 is also ok)

Bikes and brands to look for.

Santa Cruz - Hightower, 5010, Bronson
Yeti - SB5, SB5.5
Rocky Mountain - Pipeline, Instinct
Trek - Remedy

There's lots more but I'm to lazy to keep typing. Good Luck!!
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