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Old vs new downhill bikes

Happymtb.fr

Monkey
Feb 9, 2016
830
217
SWE
After renting a DH bike this summer, riding proper tracks and enjoying myself, I feel like it's time for downhill bikes to make a comeback in the front of the mtb scene, at least my mtb scene :D

I have been eyeballing the new Gambler. It's nice, modern, adjustable. It has potential!
Then I liked the Commencal Furious I rented this summer.

But second hand DH bikes are cheap, even cheaper when equipped with 26" wheels. A cheaper bike means also more money for bike trips!

So my questions are: would you consider getting a old 26" wheeled bike against the one I listed above? And what brands / models did you valued back in the days?

What I expect is:
- a reliable construction, I am not a welder and don't want change bearing too often
- ok geometry with lowish BB (~350mm), slack enough HA (~63°) and roomy cockpit (430-440mm reach). Angleset and/or sizing up can come handy
- a leverage curve that works with a coil
Components can easily be changed so let's focus on getting a good frame first.

About me: I don't jump much nor will try to get the fastest time, I just want to have fun!
175cm (5'9") and 75kg (165lbs)

Shoot!
 

Kevin

Turbo Monkey
Get one of the last 26” V10s. I just sold mine for dirt cheap. Decked out with a Boss fork, CCDB, E-Thirteen wheels,Formula Oro brakes and X.0 stuff.
Sold for 1300eur to a kid in Germany.

Sure newer bikes are a bit different regarding sizes and geo but those bikes are still very capable, durable and fun.
 

toodles

Turbo Monkey
Aug 24, 2004
2,605
764
Australia
Those Commencal Furious bikes are crazy good bang for the buck. A buddy of mine just got the BC Edition and it is ready to race or do park laps straight out of the box. I actually think it would be a more "fun" option than the Supreme DH for park riding unless you're only interested in doing Mach Chicken over super gnarly terrain.
 

djjohnr

Turbo Monkey
Apr 21, 2002
1,854
469
Northern California
Those Commencal Furious bikes are crazy good bang for the buck. A buddy of mine just got the BC Edition and it is ready to race or do park laps straight out of the box. I actually think it would be a more "fun" option than the Supreme DH for park riding unless you're only interested in doing Mach Chicken over super gnarly terrain.
It’s probably either of those for my next DH bike. The big question for me is how does the Supreme corner being a high pivot? My Clash rails, I’d expect the same from the Furious.
 

Happymtb.fr

Monkey
Feb 9, 2016
830
217
SWE
Thanks for the feedback!

The Turner is nice but really short and finding an XL here would be difficult... a buddy of mine was riding one on trails 5 years ago! :confused:

V10 is indeed a classic!

What about the Knolly Podium? I saw one with a 40 and a CCDB coil in large.
 

iRider

Turbo Monkey
Apr 5, 2008
1,887
242
There are also quite a few Intense M9 on the market. If you get an L and use an angelset you can get the geo pretty close to what is currently hot. And if needed you can even fit 27.5 wheels in with the long wheelbase setting.
 

kidwoo

Celebrating No-Pants Day
Aug 25, 2003
22,017
1,697
In my pants
If you have to even question it, then it seems like buying a brand new badass bike is probably overkill. Buy a cheap used one. If it takes over your life, the scott will still be there, and the used one is still the same relative value.
 

Sandro

Turbo Monkey
Nov 12, 2006
1,991
812
The old world
^^ This. You also don't need to go super old, everybody is going so 29" crazy that you can get good deals on 27,5" bikes. Might also be worth checking out the continental used markets, here are just a few examples of recent listings:
Glory, Swoop, Strike, Gambler
 

Happymtb.fr

Monkey
Feb 9, 2016
830
217
SWE
If you have to even question it, then it seems like buying a brand new badass bike is probably overkill
Agreed!

Thanks @Sandro for the links.

One question about the Banshees: are their DH bike more sturdy than their trail bikes? I have seen way too many broken spitfire over the years
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
15,864
957
01776
I feel like 26" bikes got just about perfect, then the industry shifted gears to 650b and then 29" once each wheelsize got sorted. I'm not sure there's much that a good 26" bikes doesn't have that a good 650b does besides wheel size (which has merits). I don't think bigwheels are really that important unless A) you're buying new, or 2) you're racing. If you're just park riding, I'd probably rather buy Jimmy's used year old Gambler than the brand new one, even if it saves a pound. A lot of people need the latest and greatest, leaving relatively new stuff on the used market for deep discounts. I know I couldn't sell my GT for much, even though it's got far less use than most bikes out there...it's simply "outdated", even though it has coil suspension, hi/lo compression, fantastic tires, and a decent frame design.
 

jonKranked

Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
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I feel like 26" bikes got just about perfect, then the industry shifted gears to 650b and then 29" once each wheelsize got sorted. I'm not sure there's much that a good 26" bikes doesn't have that a good 650b does besides wheel size (which has merits). I don't think bigwheels are really that important unless A) you're buying new, or 2) you're racing. If you're just park riding, I'd probably rather buy Jimmy's used year old Gambler than the brand new one, even if it saves a pound. A lot of people need the latest and greatest, leaving relatively new stuff on the used market for deep discounts. I know I couldn't sell my GT for much, even though it's got far less use than most bikes out there...it's simply "outdated", even though it has coil suspension, hi/lo compression, fantastic tires, and a decent frame design.
agree 100%. unless you're racing, you don't truly need the latest and greatest IMO. not that there's anything wrong with new bikes, but if you're not gonna be DH'ing a lot, you're better off going the used route and having money for trips as you stated. and to andy's point - here's the thing. then last gen or 2 of 26" bikes were generally REALLY GOOD. it's not like the introduction of 27.5" or 29" DH bikes suddenly made 26" bikes "bad" or any less fun to ride.
 

Happymtb.fr

Monkey
Feb 9, 2016
830
217
SWE
I only sent those because I was under the impression that Sweden would be crazy expensive, but your local prices aren't bad at all (exchange rate works in my favor though):
https://happyride.se/annonser/ad.php?id=92741
https://happyride.se/annonser/ad.php?id=92992
https://happyride.se/annonser/ad.php?id=92876
The demand for used DH bikes is really low here, everybody went enduro :brows:, not that many leaves close to the real mountains and the DH scene is pretty much dead...
So there are, hopefully, some good bargains to be made here.
 

norbar

Turbo Monkey
Jun 7, 2007
9,524
331
Warsaw :/
After renting a DH bike this summer, riding proper tracks and enjoying myself, I feel like it's time for downhill bikes to make a comeback in the front of the mtb scene, at least my mtb scene :D

I have been eyeballing the new Gambler. It's nice, modern, adjustable. It has potential!
Then I liked the Commencal Furious I rented this summer.

But second hand DH bikes are cheap, even cheaper when equipped with 26" wheels. A cheaper bike means also more money for bike trips!

So my questions are: would you consider getting a old 26" wheeled bike against the one I listed above? And what brands / models did you valued back in the days?

What I expect is:
- a reliable construction, I am not a welder and don't want change bearing too often
- ok geometry with lowish BB (~350mm), slack enough HA (~63°) and roomy cockpit (430-440mm reach). Angleset and/or sizing up can come handy
- a leverage curve that works with a coil
Components can easily be changed so let's focus on getting a good frame first.

About me: I don't jump much nor will try to get the fastest time, I just want to have fun!
175cm (5'9") and 75kg (165lbs)

Shoot!
I know I'm not very objective but get a Banshee Legend. Outside of a short run of ISCG mount issues they are indestructible. They have good geo (they are shortish but you can always buy L instead of M), have 1.5 headtube for angleset/reach headsets. The leverage curve requires a slightly progressive shock but it will work with earlier fox models. I also think Craig changed something in later models leverage curve though you would have to ask. The bikes are also stiff as hell, plow through the rough and just don't pose any issues. No linkage play, no bearing problems. Imho they are a safe bet for used bikes because they are just so hard to abuse.
 

norbar

Turbo Monkey
Jun 7, 2007
9,524
331
Warsaw :/
Agreed!

Thanks @Sandro for the links.

One question about the Banshees: are their DH bike more sturdy than their trail bikes? I have seen way too many broken spitfire over the years
People abused the spitfire and treated it as an enduro bike when it was a trailbike. There were some linkage issues so that may have also affected durability but you have my Legend review above. Udi and Steve M also had prototypes If I remember right. I'm not heavy but I'm abusive on bikes, I crash, land short and do a ton of stupid shit. Also what's good about the legend it doesn't get a ton of dents like many modern bikes.
 

Jeremy R

<b>x</b>
Nov 15, 2001
9,469
423
behind you with a snap pop
if only people had dialed it back a bit and just used it for all mountain instead of enduro . . .
Ha, This reminds me of my hardtail. You can put whatever word you want to in front of it,
all mountain, enduro, even DH, but a couple of months back when I tried to hit upper black mountain
on it at full speed, the only words needed it front of it were "It is still a....."
 

jstuhlman

We noticed.
Dec 3, 2009
9,209
4,020
Cackalacka du Nord
Ha, This reminds me of my hardtail. You can put whatever word you want to in front of it,
all mountain, enduro, even DH, but a couple of months back when I tried to hit upper black mountain
on it at full speed, the only words needed it front of it were "It is still a....."
maybe you could . . . TRY IT NAO? . . . now that upper black has been neutered/bikeparked
 

norbar

Turbo Monkey
Jun 7, 2007
9,524
331
Warsaw :/
if only people had dialed it back a bit and just used it for all mountain instead of enduro . . .
Banshee simply had another bike for real abuse and it was called Rune. People thought that simply because of the agresive geo that spitfire can handle full speed bikepark sessions.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
15,864
957
01776
agree 100%. unless you're racing, you don't truly need the latest and greatest IMO. not that there's anything wrong with new bikes, but if you're not gonna be DH'ing a lot, you're better off going the used route and having money for trips as you stated. and to andy's point - here's the thing. then last gen or 2 of 26" bikes were generally REALLY GOOD. it's not like the introduction of 27.5" or 29" DH bikes suddenly made 26" bikes "bad" or any less fun to ride.

yeah, to clarify my point- the difference between a 2004 DH bike and a 2014 is ENORMOUS. The difference between a 2009 and 2019 is considerably less so. And the difference between a 2014 and 2017 is pretty miniscule.
 

jonKranked

Press Button, Receive Stupid
Nov 10, 2005
54,752
4,205
media blackout
yeah, to clarify my point- the difference between a 2004 DH bike and a 2014 is ENORMOUS. The difference between a 2009 and 2019 is considerably less so. And the difference between a 2014 and 2017 is pretty miniscule.
oh for sure. most anything 2010 and newer is gonna be pretty good.
 

JustMtnB44

Monkey
Sep 13, 2006
771
59
Pittsburgh, PA
One question about the Banshees: are their DH bike more sturdy than their trail bikes? I have seen way too many broken spitfire over the years.
I've had a Spitfire v2 since 2013, a Legend from 2012-2016, and a Darkside from 2016-present. None have ever given me issues and have been extremely reliable.
The Legend is a beast of a DH bike, but I ended up selling it because I just don't go fast enough in the rough stuff and wanted more of a park bike. The Darkside is a great park bike but obviously doesn't do high speed plow as well as the Legend. Both are super solid and can take a beating. I got my Darkside complete bike new on clearance for a great price, but the Legend I had bought used which was also a good value.
 

mykel

Turbo Monkey
Apr 19, 2013
1,907
551
sw ontario canada
...What about the Knolly Podium? I saw one with a 40 and a CCDB coil in large.
I'm still loving my Podium.
It's built out with a CCDB and a Ti 888 with Avy cartridge.
It is also a mullet with a 27.5 wheel.
Being I don't race, and just ride "local" lift hill - both natural and flow lines, with the odd every few years road-trip - I have no interest in a new bike. If I was young and racing or road-tripping to all kinds of nasty places, then something a bit fresher would be of interest.



I'm on a large, am 6'2" - the Stack is 593 and Reach is 432, so it is a product of it;s time - One thing I have been thinking about investigating is a reach-adjust headset, luckily it has a full 1.5 headtube.

Happy Hunting.
 

iRider

Turbo Monkey
Apr 5, 2008
1,887
242
agree 100%. unless you're racing, you don't truly need the latest and greatest IMO.
I would say in lower classes you are still pretty competitive with a 26" bike. In 2008 a guy was racing locally in the Expert class on a clapped out Super 8 and made the podium more often than not. Others were on Sundays, M6s, Demos....
 

SuboptimusPrime

Turbo Monkey
Aug 18, 2005
1,350
891
NorCack
Only thing that has me wishing for 27.5 is access to newer tire designs. That said I’ll probably ride my 2014 GGDH forever (or until @mtg makes me a new DH bike) cause it’s been incredibly fun and trouble free.
 

Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”
Mar 14, 2005
4,718
798
You also don't need to go super old, everybody is going so 29" crazy that you can get good deals on 27,5" bikes.
^^This
Bikeparks are more enjoyable and less painful with 27.5" (vs. 26"), with no real downsides.
Even just the bigger wheel on the front is nice. I wouldn't bother with 26 if buying a fresh DH bike in 2019.

Glory/Gambler/Legend/V10 all pretty decent in the 27.5" versions.
To answer the question re: Banshee, I do think the DH frames are more durable than the trailbikes, seem to last.
Furious seems decent also.
 

chris_f

Monkey
Jun 20, 2007
265
228
I have the last generation of 26" V10 and it is a pretty sweet bike. The fork is a pig, however, and it's getting replaced with a 40 so I can stick a 27.5" front wheel on the thing when finances allow.

After I picked up an Endureaux-bike it hasn't been getting any use though, but I'm keeping it for bikeparks.
 

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DH Dad

Monkey
Jun 12, 2002
434
30
MA
I picked up a 2013 Glory 26" and it's perfect for me. Modern geometry and was extremely affordable and the Glory aluminum builds up very light. Riding mostly bike parks the wheel size doesn't matter as much to me. If I was riding extreme gnarly terrain with massive holes and roots I think the 29 would make a huge difference. Did a lot of research before I got it, right around 2012 seemed to be the maturation of more modern DH geo angles, before that HA were steeper and BB higher.
 

daisycutter

Turbo Monkey
Apr 8, 2006
1,513
39
New York City
My current rigs are a Turner DHR 2015ish with BOS suspension and a half carbon V10 with Marzocchi 380 and fox suspension. I have no complaints, the bikes are better then I am and are a joy to ride. I have plenty of back up parts so I figure to be the old guy riding the 26s for the next five years. The great thing about old bikes is the standards have not changed so it's easy to switch out parts. 150mm hubs, no press in bottom brackets, ahh the good old days.