Where should I start upgrading this bike from the pawn shop?
What’s the best trailbike for a
guy who doesn’t descend all that
much? This bike or that bike?
Why do kids grow so fast?
We love answering these
questions and many more every
month. Got a question of your
own? 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 hit the link to ask your
KNOW WHEN TO FOLD ’EM
Q: Got a Fisher Joshua from my local
pawnshop. I’ve upgraded to a SRAM
X9 drivetrain, a Marzochi 44 fork, a
DT Swiss shock and Sun Ringle rims.
The longer-travel shock raised the
bottom bracket really far off the ground
and causes the lower tube of the
rear frame triangle to no longer be
perpendicular to the ground. What
impact is this having on how the bike
rides? Can you give me some feedback
on the Joshua?
—John, who should save his money
A: The Fisher Joshua was an okay
bike for its time, but it is getting up
there in years. Keep an eye on the head
tube area (the tube that the fork goes
through) for cracks. In fact, keep an
eye on every weld and tube bend on the
frame and stays. That bike is past its
freshness date by a number of years.
Our first bit of advice is not to sink
any more money into the Joshua. Save
all that dough for a new bike in the
Second, it sounds like you are having
fun experimenting with components,
and there is nothing wrong with that.
Some things will work, and some things
won’t. That said, we wouldn’t do what
you have done. It is too radical, and
you are totally changing your bike’s
riding personality. Going to a longer-travel fork is a bad idea, and going to a
different-length shock is a horrible idea.
Anything you change on the bike
will affect other components on the
bike. When you put on a longer fork,
you raise the bottom bracket and slacken the steering (that makes it slower),
adding a ton more stress to the frame.
A longer shock makes the bike steer
quicker and may cause some issues
when you bottom the suspension.
There will be problems with tire clearance, cable routing and your drivetrain.
Ride your bike and save your bucks
for a new bike that does everything you
want it to do. You sound like the king
of finding good deals, so keep your eyes
A TRAILBIKE FOR
Q: I wanted to know your opinion:
Specialized Stumpjumper FSR EVO 26
or Yeti SB66c. I ride open trails, loose
terrain, not much downhill, mostly
cross-country with occasional climbs
and descents, and I’m 5 foot 9.
—Julio, who might want to look in a
A: That’s a tough call between those
two. If you’re looking for an aggressive
trailbike, either one will suit you very
well. However, with your description
of your riding, we think you may want
to look at something else to really get
the best experience. The Stumpjumper
EVO and SB66c are both bikes that
love to rip downhills. They aren’t
going to pedal as well as many shorter-
travel trail options. If you aren’t too
concerned with having a bike that’s
an absolute blast for more aggressive
downhill trails, you might be lugging
around too much bike with one of
For mostly cross-country riding,
you want to check out either a cross-country-specific bike or a short-travel
trailbike. Many riders would be surprised by how capable a 4- or 4.7-inch
travel 29er can be on downhills while
absolutely flying up climbs. If you want
to split the difference between the more
aggressive bikes you mentioned and a
full-blown, cross-country bike, check
out these trailbikes: Specialized Camber
Evo 29, Trek Fuel EX 29, Yeti SB- 95
and Giant’s Trance 27. 5.
MAKE UP MY MIND
Q: Buying my first mountain bike
but not looking to spend over a grand.
I want 27.5-inch wheels and have narrowed it down to two: the Kona Blast
and the KHS Sixfifty 500. Your choice?
—Tony, who can’t decide
A: Both of those companies are
great at delivering a lot of bike for the
money. The tie-breaker for us would be
the bike shop. We’d buy the bike that
is represented by the best bike shop
in your area. Good service after the