Mountain Biking Equipment for Moab
MOUNTAIN BIKE AND ACCESSORY SALES IN MOAB: Click on the Dreambike.com logo for info on purchase of Moots, Ventana, and Dreamride bikes, as well as other authorized dealer lines and equipment such as flight cases, tires, guide books, accessories and components for your Moab trip.
Of course, if you ride dirt roads, you don't need a Moab bike even in Moab. There are plenty of scenic dirt roads out here. If you are riding from town to tour the easier trails, a good hardtail will do. There are tight twisting singletracks in the desert, even more in the mountains. But, if you are coming to Moab for the classic trails and wild slickrock terrain, . . . .
You are going to need SUSPENSION! Long travel is best and high quality is always the way to go. Nowhere else will you appreciate the upper end of mountain biking equipment than in Moab. Don't worry about bike weight too much, but do worry about durability. Coil springs are best because they are plush and reliable. While air shocks are better than nothing, they do blow up, ramp up on big hits and bounce you off line. The very best examples of excellent Moab bikes can be found in our rental fleet. Our standard rentals are custom builds of Ventana El Chamuco frames, which we feel are the very best for this terrain. They stand up to abuse, are simple to maintain and handle so well that we no longer have to constantly be looking behind us to make sure clients are not getting themselves into trouble. We work to provide the ultimate Moab-terrain bikes. We sell the very best Moab-inspired bikes, the Dreamride Fully and solid builds of Ventana frames such as El Chamuco, El Saltamontes, X-5 and La Bruja. There are some Taiwan bikes that work for Moab, most of them Horst Link. We recommend the more freeride end of four bar full suspension from companies like Specialized, Kona, Intense. Four bar systems have given us designs that are the absolute best, but some four bar designs are jacked-up, literally. Low forward single pivot bikes are excellent Moab rigs, as long as the fork is long enough to give you a head angle of 65 to 70.5 degrees and the frame is sturdy enough to handle the rough. Nothing comes close to the Ventana El Chamuco (now a discontinued design, by the way), but there are many that work just fine as long as you don't have a Chamuco around to compare them to. As for full suspension bikes that don't work or are downright dangerous in Moab, URT designs are the absolute worst. The only remaining URT design being sold are the Turner Maverick and GT I-Drive which while not as bad as the original Trek Y-Bikes and Castellano Sweetspot designs, are still not recommended, but almost any suspension is better than no suspension, so bring your Maverick. A Seven Duo (based on the Maverick rear end) is better than bringing most hardtails. Freeride hardtails are awesome for Moab, especially combined with downhill tires and a long travel fork. The few hardtails we sell and provide in our rental fleet have suspension seatposts that allow up to four inches of travel, so when you are sitting you can take a break from the pain. We consider a good seatpost suspension to be superior to a bad rear end suspension design. The reason we consider a suspension post a better choice than URT, or even seemingly well-designed four bar frames, is a dangerous handling flaw not-so-affectionately called "stinkbug" or "brake jack." It is when the rear end of the bike jacks up under hard braking on a downhill. This, combined with a bump, gap or v-out at the bottom, can throw you over the bars. We have seen riders with URT designs and poorly designed four bar rear ends getting seriously injured from this handling quirk. We used to sell a line of bikes exclusively. When the design was changed slightly and the bikes began to stinkbug, we dropped the line completely. It is that dangerous a trait, especially when you cross the line from "riding around" to "hardcore."
A warning about rental bikes in Moab: At the start of the season in March or April Moab's bike shops have purchased new bikes to rent. Toward the end of the season in August, September and October, these same bikes have become dangerous. After being hammered on Porcupine Rim daily, any bike's frame and parts will fatique and break. Yes, we have heard of and seen a lot of breakages, but never with our rental bikes. This is a direct result of our policy not to choose only the highest quality tested equipment, to never rent outside of our tour business and to get rid of any bike long before it begins to show signs of failure. We have dropped complete bike lines because of failures during testing or rumored and/or witnessed failures elsewhere. Dreamride rental bikes are ridden only under guided supervision. We know just what each bike has been through. Each is set up for a specific weight and use. We match each rental bike to the client and the trail series. Each bike is checked after every ride and tuned and/or upgraded after every series. Frames were chosen for strength and efficiency. Bikes are custom built in our shop specifically for Moab terrain. We do not buy complete bikes in boxes and as a result our bikes are more expensive. A good bike in any other place in the world is not a good bike in Moab. We have had clients who rented bikes from other shops, or who brought poorly maintained bikes with them, drive us crazy with repairs and even injuries. We have seen bikes from other shops literally break in half. As a result we forbid rentals outside of our company. It's a liability issue, a decision made for YOUR SAFETY. If you are not riding with us, proceed with caution, especially if you are renting a bike from a shop in Moab. Don't bring a cheap or poorly maintained bike to ride with us. If you are wondering, rent one of our bikes. It is usually cheaper than bringing your own bike, and certainly a lot safer. If you bring a poorly maintained bike, we will insist that you rent. Reserve your bike early. Read up on the bikes at DREAMRIDE RENTAL FLEET BIKES.
Take a look at your shock mounting bolts and make sure they are not bent or loose. A good precaution is to replace these bolts with #5 steel (black hardened, not stainless) bolts. This modification will keep the bolts from snapping and ruining your frame. We have seen a lot of GT I-Drive bikes that break the shock mounting bolts. The impacts in Moab seem to really take stuff past the limit, so look at what may break and assume that it will. Replace weak stuff.
Forks will want to have a thicker oil in them. If you are running 5 weight oil in California, assume that you will need 10 weight in Moab. As for fork set-up, it depends on the trail. Downhill trails will want a bit more compression damping, uphill less. Downhill speeds need faster rebound, slower trails need slower rebound. "Set it and forget it" is not the way to approach the bike's suspension in Moab. Trail surfaces vary, so should your suspension set-up. Never hesitate to stop and adjust damping.
The best fork for Moab is the Marzocchi Z-1 series with five inches of travel. These forks are reliable and bomb proof, and the coil versions work even when they are blown. The Manitou Sherman series is almost as good, but not as stiff or reliable. Plush long travel is best. Balanced travel, front and rear, is desired. Cross country racing forks are not prime for Moab terrain, but will do in a rush as long as you are careful with them on jack hammer stutter bumps like the ax blades on Porcupine Rim. Again, do not worry about weight. Most of our trails love momentum. A light bike will not carry momentum into a short, rough climb and the wind will blow them out from under you. If you find yourself preparing for a small hill by shifting DOWN into a lower gear, then you just are not getting it, . . . . or you have a bike that is too light. These are syndromes of bad bike thinking for Moab. Most experienced Moab riders prepare for a hill by shifting up into a higher gear and using the momentum of the downside to rip up the next hill. A heavy bike works (not too heavy, though). Nowadays most experienced Moab riders are on bikes that weigh from 35 to 40 pounds. They are generally riding forks that have from five to eight inches of travel. Yes, it is a different world out here. You might think we are freeriding, but no, we are just riding.
Fat, sticky tires: The wider the tire, the better. The stiffer the side knobs, the better. Tacky rubber compounds work best for slickrock riding, but the side knobs must not flex too much. Sand likes wide tires with low pressure. Loose rocks like wide tires with low pressure (not too low, though). Slickrock likes more pressure to keep the tire from rolling over. Slickrock will tear your tires up, so bringing a pair of almost-bald used tires for the bare rock of the Moab Slickrock Trail is a good idea. Just make sure they are not hard compound or have tall flexy knobs. Feel the tire compound. Rub your finger across the knobs. If the rubber feels slick, it is not optimum. If it is tacky, it is good. Dig your nail into the tread. If it rebounds quickly, it is not prime. If your nail leaves an impression, then that is the kind of compound you are looking for. Of course, the design of the tread can make a slicker, less tacky tire much more friendly on the rock. A poorly designed soft rubber tread can tear off in a matter of a few feet. Check those side knobs with your fingers. Push down on them. You want a very firm side knob. If they are tall and roll around with the slightest pressure, they just are not good enough. The side knobs should be very stout and resist movement. The best tire for Moab is a rare version of the WTB Motoraptor 2.4 with climbing shoe rubber. We bought up half the entire run of this experimental tire. We also like the WTB Weirwolf 2.5 (knobs are a bit more agressive, but also a bit more flexy on the edges-not good for sidehilling). The WTB Mutanoraptor 2.24 is awesome on the rock and a fine tire in just about every situation. The GEAX Sturdy is great on the rock and sand, but the tread is a bit too square for sidehilling. Like the Weirwolf, the GEAX Sturdy is a fantastic sand tire and we have enough of that stuff out here to make you love these tires. Make sure the fat tires fit on your rims and under your fork without rubbing or bottoming on the crown! Fatter tires will need a bit of extra pressure if you are running narrow rims. This will keep them from rolling over. 2.4 tires on a narrow XC rims are fine ONLY if you are just riding along dealing with loose rock or sand, but if you are jumping, sidehilling or going really fast, they can cause serious injury. If you are running wide rims (over 20mm), letting the pressure out will help you in sandy conditions. Just remember to pump them up before you hit the slickrock.
Good rims for wide tires: Wide rims (over 24mm) such as the Mavic DH321, 719 (old style 519), 219 (now X819). Sun Rhino Lite and Sun Singletrack. Any DH rim is fine as long as you can make it go around with your legs.
Get an unbreakable riser bar. Azonic, Easton or Answer are the very best. Get the widest bar with the tallest rise. Wide riser bars will allow you much more control when the riding gets technical and steep. Shorter stems (50mm to 110mm maximum) keep you behind the front wheel. Wide bars and a long stem are the doorway to broken collarbones. A good rule for setting the bike up for Moab's rough terrain is to level the handlebar height with the seat height. Having the bars as much as two to three inches higher than the saddle is a better idea than having the bars lower than the saddle. Riser bars, a taller, shorter stem, and/or a fatter tire on the front will get the front end up.
You are going to be sliding back behind your saddle a lot, so a big, cushy gel saddle is NOT where it is at. You want something that you can get behind, but will also be comfy for your behind. We prefer the WTB saddles, especially the Power V or Speed V.
Disc brakes are best. Hayes hydraulics used to be the best, but are now going through outsourcing problems (new location in China, new design, bad idea). Hope Minis are pretty, have a nice lever feel, work well and look nice, but are fragile in a crash. Shimano hydraulics are very good, they rattle a bit, but are consistent and reliable. Magura Louise Freeride and Marta brakes are awesome, top rated by Dreamide. Do not use a closed system hydraulic brake in Moab. They will fade. Avid, Hayes and Shimano mechanical discs are good, too. Not as good as hyraulics, but they stop the bike when maintained regularly. The Avids squeal like pigs in the wet, but are great stoppers, easy to install. V-brakes are fine. Worn V-brake pads should be replaced prior to coming to Moab. Carry extra pads in case it rains. Wet sand will take those V-brake pads right off. Carrying a rag on wet rides will allow you to wipe the rims down when they get wet and sandy. If you hear that gritty rubbing sound, get off and wipe down the rims. You will save the pads for later. If you are running ceramic rims, be sure to stock up on another set of pads that are specific to ceramic rims before you come to Moab (we stock them, BTW). Setting the brakes so that the levers apply force close to the handlebar will give your hands a break on long descents, but make sure you test them with wet rims to make sure you have all the leverage you can get. Never toe in Shimano V brakes. They are designed to work with the pad in full contact with the rim. Rocks and sticks can get hung up between the rim and brake, so be aware that while they do work, rim brakes mean inherent dangers.
A hydration pack with a large bladder over 100 oz. in capacity is a necessity. Use a larger water pack to carry EVERYTHING you need. Try not to carry stuff on your bike to keep it light for handling ease. Don't use a behind-the-saddle pack for anything other than a spare tube and tire levers. No racks. Keep the weight on your body, and especially avoid weight above the top tube. Buy a backpack that carries the load low in the small of your back. We carry a couple of brands of packs that are perfect for Moab, so if you come to Moab without a pack, we have a few choices. For more on the packed goods and clothing to bring with you go to MOUNTAIN BIKE SAFETY.
Bring extras of anything that you have broken in the past and extras of stuff that you may break. Extra Frog cleats are reallly smart. Frogs are not recommended--they break--and you can come out of them on a jump. Extra derailleur hangers. Extra rear derailleur if you have broken one off in the past. Extra bolts that you have broken on your full suspension in the past. Extra tubes. A pair of extra tires may be handy. Lots of dry lube and a tad of wet lube.
More about pedals: Sand will clog your pedals, especially the older Ritchey and SPD varieties. A dab of sunblock will work just like a lube to fix those jammed bindings. Time pedals are THE pedals for Moab. Eggbeaters are almost as good. They don't clog. They don't suck. They are incredibly consistent in their engagement and release. The newer platform versions of Time and Eggbeaters are awesome and will give you a bit more confidence (and less ground clearance on sidehills).
Use a dab of blue locktite on bolts that may back out. Moab is bumpy. Be sure to check the bolts during and after a long, bumpy downhill. Check your crank arm bolts after a bumpy section, especially on your first ride here. Make sure your disc brake mounting bolts are tight, and be careful to check spoke tension, especially if you are running discs. A good way to keep those disc brake bolts from backing out is to use a bit of red locktite under the head of the bolt. Too much blue locktite on rotor mounting bolts will cause disc brakes to howl. The liquid seaps out between the rotor and hub surface during installation, then hardens, causing a gap to form, which, in turn, causes vibration.
GET RID OF THOSE BAR ENDS! We have seen too many awful injuries resulting from falling on those damn things. You don't need them here, unless you are climbing on roads or in the mountains. One of our guides is missing a front tooth from contact with a barend in a crash. We know of at least two near fatal falls on barends--one ruptured spleen and a gut "core sample."
Call 1 (888) MOAB UTAH in the states.