Out of the loop for a while... where are all the rigid 26" MTBs?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
random37
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Out of the loop for a while... where are all the rigid 26" MTBs?

Postby random37 » 16 Jul 2018, 12:23am

Hello

I am coming back to cycling. I have missed it.

I am looking for a replacement for my Ridgeback Cyclone. I owned a lot of bikes(some quite exotic), but the Cyclone stuck in my mind as great fun.

It had 26" wheels, a really, really boring grey paint job, lowish BB and rigid steel fork. Like a mountain bike, but a little bit higher geared and with a slightly lower bottom bracket (not sure if this was design or perhaps because the tyres were comparatively narrow?). It always felt very good in traffic and on cruddy roads. My old Galaxy was more comfortable after 50 miles, but after I changed the saddle and fitted barends I had a great machine in the Ridgeback.

Looking now, everything seems to have 29" or 27.5" wheels. I'm sure these are fine, but I think the smaller wheels are more useful when you want to get away fast. And the few bikes that have rigid forks (like the Carrera Subway) have aluminium blades. I am sure it's unfair, but I just don't trust these.

Does anyone still make these? I know there are still plenty expedition touring bikes with 26" wheels, but those are a bit more of a financial event, and not really what I am after anyway.

hamster
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Re: Out of the loop for a while... where are all the rigid 26" MTBs?

Postby hamster » 16 Jul 2018, 9:09am

Sadly not many; the marketing direction is that new wheel sizes solve everything...

However, the good news is that there are loads of brilliant secondhand 26"-wheel frames out there. Give them a respray and build to exactly what you want.
Try looking on retrobike.co.uk for starters.


Alan O
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Re: Out of the loop for a while... where are all the rigid 26" MTBs?

Postby Alan O » 16 Jul 2018, 10:33am

hamster wrote:However, the good news is that there are loads of brilliant secondhand 26"-wheel frames out there. Give them a respray and build to exactly what you want.

That. There are lots of great 26" MTBs going for silly money. I got a rigid one for £30 last year from the famous auction site, and it just needed a bit of cleaning and tweaking. And I got a GT 26" hardtail in lovely condition for £110. Both local, as I wouldn't buy one without seeing it first, and both picked up from the sellers' homes (to minimize the chance of getting a stolen one).

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Audax67
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Re: Out of the loop for a while... where are all the rigid 26" MTBs?

Postby Audax67 » 16 Jul 2018, 11:07am

With a bit of fettling, rigid 26"-ers make great tourers.
Last edited by Audax67 on 16 Jul 2018, 11:15am, edited 2 times in total.
Have we got time for another cuppa?

Brucey
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Re: Out of the loop for a while... where are all the rigid 26" MTBs?

Postby Brucey » 16 Jul 2018, 11:11am

not 100% sure about the current state of affairs but for years the subway models had steel forks. They have had 650B wheels for the last few years but that may mean that you can find a good one with 559 wheels that is lightly used, for peanuts. The frame and fork are pretty good, the brand doesn't make it a special target for thieving scumbags, and the other parts can be replaced/upgraded as time goes on. IMHO you can build a very useful bike with a subway as starting point.

As per other posts above, if you are remotely fussy about what you ride, you can build/adapt something to meet your needs without very great difficulty; there are no end of cheap MTBs with nice steel frames/forks just waiting to be repurposed.

cheers
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random37
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Re: Out of the loop for a while... where are all the rigid 26" MTBs?

Postby random37 » 16 Jul 2018, 11:13am

Thank you, everyone. Secondhand it is.



Bleeurgh. And a springy fork! Thanks for showing it though!

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Audax67
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Re: Out of the loop for a while... where are all the rigid 26" MTBs?

Postby Audax67 » 16 Jul 2018, 11:15am

Or you can do this:

Image

My 1994 MBK frame, no mudguards/rack/lights but could take them; and old Shim 105 3x9 shifters, mixed with Deore. Great fun - would work well on gravel too.
Have we got time for another cuppa?

peetee
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Re: Out of the loop for a while... where are all the rigid 26" MTBs?

Postby peetee » 16 Jul 2018, 12:28pm

I have 3 MTB's and none of them have suspension front or rear. Kind of spoils the fun, I think.
If you are interested I have a barely used 1991 Saracen Traverse Hydrotech for sale?
Current status report:
Latter side of fifty and feeling less than nifty.
Too many bikes on pegs and too few miles in the legs.

whoof
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Re: Out of the loop for a while... where are all the rigid 26" MTBs?

Postby whoof » 16 Jul 2018, 1:39pm

random37 wrote:Thank you, everyone. Secondhand it is.



Bleeurgh. And a springy fork! Thanks for showing it though!


http://www.argos.co.uk/product/5016343

This one has a rigid fork, is of about the same quality and is typical of what you would get in a new 26" wheel rigid mountain bike.

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Si
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Re: Out of the loop for a while... where are all the rigid 26" MTBs?

Postby Si » 16 Jul 2018, 4:20pm

Problem with a lot of the old steel 26" wheel frames is that they don't have a particularly low BB. Personally I don't find that a problem but if you do then you need to get the tape measure out. They can also sometimes have quite long top tubes if you want to do a drop bar conversion.

Worth looking at second hand Dawes Sardars and One-Downs which were built as 26" wheel tourers rather than MTBs (well, more or less), are good bikes, and tend to be little cheaper than, say, a sjs Sherpa.

Brucey
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Re: Out of the loop for a while... where are all the rigid 26" MTBs?

Postby Brucey » 16 Jul 2018, 4:36pm

BB heights do vary but do bear in mind that you will likely be using the bike on the road with narrower tyres than the ~2.2" knobblies they were designed for. Also if the frame is suspension-fork compatible, you have the choice of fitting a shorter fork (which lowers the BB and alters the steering geometry) or not.

if you want to be able to put your foot down easily whilst still seated, a converted MTB mightn't suit you. Otherwise the net result isn't necessarily much different from a lot of other bikes, i.e. that you will usually have to slide forwards out of the saddle to get your foot down.


Re long top tubes; these appeared in the early 1990s (eg Gary Fisher genesis) but this approach wasn't universally adopted to start with and prior to that MTBs often had short top tubes, short enough that you could fit drops without having a long reach (audax 67's bike looks like it has a long reach to me, BTW).

cheers
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random37
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Re: Out of the loop for a while... where are all the rigid 26" MTBs?

Postby random37 » 16 Jul 2018, 6:43pm

Si wrote:Problem with a lot of the old steel 26" wheel frames is that they don't have a particularly low BB. Personally I don't find that a problem but if you do then you need to get the tape measure out. They can also sometimes have quite long top tubes if you want to do a drop bar conversion.


Yes, this is a problem. Mountain bikes became pretty inaccessible after about 1991ish, which is why there are so many in showroom condition. Bars 4 inches lower than the saddle, with a really stretched out riding position. I'm not sure I want to do that again.

That's one of the things I liked about that Ridgeback. It really was nicely thought out. As far as I'm concerned, perhaps the ultimate town bike.

random37
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Re: Out of the loop for a while... where are all the rigid 26" MTBs?

Postby random37 » 16 Jul 2018, 6:49pm

whoof wrote:http://www.argos.co.uk/product/5016343

This one has a rigid fork, is of about the same quality and is typical of what you would get in a new 26" wheel rigid mountain bike.


I don't know. That doesn't scream quality to me. Do you have one? Would like to see pictures.

Personally, I really dislike having to fettle bikes if I buy them new.

whoof
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Re: Out of the loop for a while... where are all the rigid 26" MTBs?

Postby whoof » 16 Jul 2018, 7:42pm

random37 wrote:
whoof wrote:http://www.argos.co.uk/product/5016343

This one has a rigid fork, is of about the same quality and is typical of what you would get in a new 26" wheel rigid mountain bike.


I don't know. That doesn't scream quality to me. Do you have one? Would like to see pictures.
I don't have one and wouldn't want one. My point is if you want a new 26" wheel steel bike they are either this quality of you but a Thorn, Surly, Oxford Bike Works etc.
i do have a good condition Surly Long Haul Trucker that was £500 second hand that I use as my touring bike and an early 1990s aluminium mountain bike. The mountain bike was my tourer and is now only used winter. It has a long too tube and results in a low riding position but as I've always ridden in this position I don't find it a problem.
Personally, I really dislike having to fettle bikes if I buy them new.