What bike should a big guy be riding? How much travel do I really need? How fat is too fat? The MBA wrecking crew uses its combined expertise to address these questions and more every month here at “Ask MBA.” All you need to do is visit our website—www.mbaction.com—and click the “Ask MBA” tab. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the link to ask your question.
SAVING THE BEST UPGRADE
Q: I was reading through some older issues and saw something in the December 2016 issue. In the “Garage Files” picture #20, it shows the bike in the stand and the clamp on the Reverb post. I have always been afraid to clamp my bike by the Reverb post and used another method. Is it okay to use the stand clamp on the Reverb post? Thank you for all of the helpful tips in the “Garage Files”!
—Scott, who does not want to damage his favorite upgrade
A: Good question. While we can’t say for certain that no dropper-post companies would recommend against it, we’ve been doing it for years without issue. The sur- face is precise, so you certainly don’t want to put scratches in it. That said, though, dropper-post seals don’t need to hold pressure and oil like a fork or shock seal. You’re certainly not going to destroy your favorite upgrade by following our example.
SHORTY STANDOVER SINGING SOPRANO
Q: First, you appear to no longer list standover heights in your bike test specs. Can you reinstate this information on future bike tests? To me, this is important geometry. To my knowledge, only Pivot addresses this well—and possibly Santa Cruz and Specialized. Singing soprano is not on my bucket list. Are there any other bike brands out there that I also might consider?
Second, a long while back, you had an excellent article comparing 26-, 27.5- and 29-inch wheels (rolling measurements and practical differences). If I remember correctly, your conclusion was that the 27.5-inch very closely matched the 26-inch in performance and function, but there was a significant difference from 26 inches to 29 inches. My interpretation was that a “shorty” like me might benefit more from a 26-inch, as a 27.5-inch is simply bigger. Am I thinking straight, and can you find that article? Are there any bike manufactur- ers still making 26-inch geometry?
—James, who doesn’t like straddling a tall fence
A: You got it. Next month, we’ll put the standover height back in the tests. As for the wheel-size question, it doesn’t seem like there are any real bike-makers building 26-inch models anymore. If you’re a shorter rider, it’s probably best to start looking for a 27.5-inch bike that has good standover. We’ll help you with that in our spec chart starting this month.
BIG TIRES, BIG PROBLEMS
Q: I have a 2015 Trek Superfly 8 FS I am looking to replace the tires on it. I would like to go to 2.3 or 2.35. Is this possible, and what tire would you recommend? I ride mostly in the Midwest, but enjoy riding new trails when we go on our western vacations.
—Brad, who wants a larger tire for the trails
A: Yes, your Superfly will absolutely handle a 2.35-inch tire without problems. In fact, tire width is a funny thing. Some com- panies measure their tires to the outside of the casing; some measure to the outside of the knobs. There’s really not a standard way to do it. As a result, one company’s 2.2-inch could be another company’s 2.4- inch. The good news is that bike builders are coming to realize that people want bigger tires in general and are designing frames to accommodate them. Your 2015 Superfly is new enough that it will handle an upgrade without problem.
As for a recommendation, we’ve had good luck with stuff from Michelin, Maxxis and Terrene lately. We’d recommend you check them out in the product and bike tests in the rest of this issue.
WHAT SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Q: When you test bikes in your magazine, it would be nice if you stated what pedals you are using during the test. I’m always looking for better pedals and would like to know what the experts are using on the test bikes.
—Scott, who wants to ride like the pros do
A: Typically, in the bike tests, we put in the spec chart “weighed with” a particular pair of pedals. You can pretty much assume those are the ones we tested with, as we typically don’t weigh the bikes until we’re done testing them. (We don’t want to have any preconceived notions about weight before we start riding).
THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO GET MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun. Start a subscription by clicking here or calling (800) 767-0345.