New bike recommendations wanted


Retrobike Rider
BoTM Triple Crown
BoTM Winner
Gold Trader
PoTM Winner
98+ BoTM Winner
Rocky Mountain Fan
Brodie Fan
Evening all. Recent life changes have got me thinking about a lot of things, one being my bike collection. I’m considering scaling back my vintage collection and using the funds to buy something new; not necessarily brand new, but that’s still an option, and I want to try (for the first time!) full suspension.
I don’t know much at all about modern bikes, so please feel free to give full explanations of any modern terminology you might use!
I’ve done pretty much zero research yet, so I don’t even know if I can tick every item off the wish list below, but that’s what I’m thinking about. I’m also happy to listen to reasons why you think I should reconsider.

- Steel frame
- 27.5” wheels (29” would perhaps give me more options but I’ve only ever ridden 26” and don’t fancy the jump to those big wagon wheels)
- Around 125mm rear/140mm front travel. For trail riding, not crazy stuff!
- Dropper post
- 1x gearing
- £5k absolute maximum budget (if new)

Let me know what you’d suggest and why :)
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Personally, I've not had much experience in the world of modern bikes, but I've had 3 29ers, and I was initially put off the idea by the look and wagon wheels, but after taking the plunge I have to admit I didn't really notice the larger wheel size in any negative way. I did try a 27.5, probably hampered by my chosen frame being too small to a degree, but preferred the 29er.

Boost seems all the rage, or at least is now the modern standard for hubs, forks, cranks anyway. As are wide bars, short reach stems, tapered headsets and internal routing.

I've not ventured to 12 speed, might have done if I hadn't bought wheels early on in my latest build, but even then, not sure I'd have gone for it as I was perfectly happy with 9, then 10, and 11.
How tall are you? I'm 6ft 2 and love 29" on XL frames.. not sure who I would work on XL.

boost means 110mm front and 148mm rear hub spacing

bars are now 35mm upto 800mm wide and usually a very very short stem

The type of riding terminology has changed a lot.. XC really means race whippet. Trail (is what i would call MTB'in). Enduro when your starting to think about longer travel and jumping. Downhill now means body armour and a pass to A&E.

If you actually ride off road.. a dropper will change your life. Unless your a fan of bleeding brakes, stick to cable droppers.

I'm a fan of cotic. Solaris is their long travel 29" although the latest gen has shortened that down to 120mm i believe.

New I would aim at
XT shifter/mech with slx cranks and casette. some deals kicking around.. (an xt cassette is now thru £100).. guess £350
fox forks.. top end are £1100 so work back from that
Frame £900
Hope headset £70
Hope wheels £380 or have some dt swiss built
Maxxis tyres £90
Dropper £100
finishing kit can be as boutique as you wanna go.
I’m 5’7” in my shoes. This is another reason I’m saying 27.5” but I’m certainly open to having my mind changed.
Trail is definitely where I’d put my typical riding, based on your descriptions above.
Thats defo a 29" option in my eyes. your problem is there's not much steel these days.

I would Defo look 2nd hand for a frame.. just make sure its boost and tapered headtube for current specs.

I bought my entire cotic for £800 just before lockdown. That frame alone is now £900 new now.
Solaris max

nothing to do with me but as a nice 2nd hand example that seems reasonable if the pics are genuine condition and not day 1 built photos
Seems like plenty of bike for the money. I’m definitely in the market for something full suspension though
Steel fullsuser..thats even rarer. Cotic obviously do them. I don't know much about them.. Rocket or Jeht I think they are called.

Also look out for MX/Mullet.. basically the "thing" at the minute is a 29 on the front and a 27.5 on the back..

I mean a £5k budget would get you into a Santa Cruz entry level carbon R or S kit if you looked at the outgoing paint colour models
I ride both 26” and 29”. You don’t notice the wheel size when you’re riding but the feeling is different. 26” are classy and simple, good for narrow single tracks. 29” are ugly (lol, that’s me) but much better to roll and go over obstacles. More comfortable too. 27.5” are worst on everything that’s why they’re almost gone.

My daily ride is with one of my 26’s but I only ride on competition with my 29”.
I'm roughly the same height as you Adrian and have been won over by 29", I figured that if I'm going to have bigger wheels might as well go all out. Steel full suss is a bit limiting and also going to be fairly boutique, 5k won't go that far new although I'm sure you'd get a reasonably specced Cotic for that. Probably a bit of a boring suggestion but if you could bring yourself to deal with aluminium then you can't really go wrong with a Trek Fuel EX, I had the last gen version and it was a great all rounder, good at trail centres and in the Alps without feeling like too much bike on tame home trails. The newest version gets great reviews but does seem to have gone up a level in burliness though so maybe look at the Top Fuel instead.
Treks are boring but they're good bikes and there are plenty about second hand as well.