Your ques­tions an­swered

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Get a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of fork tun­ing and spring curves with our quick-fire guides –

Choices, choices

I’m look­ing to get a new ride and have a bud­get of £2,000. Prob­lem is, I can’t choose be­tween a YT Capra [the Ger­man brand’s 650b-wheeled, heavy-hit­ter en­duro bike] and a Jeffsy [their 650b and 29er trail bikes]. I ride lo­cal trails but also get to BikePark Wales reg­u­larly, so want some­thing that’ll do me for both. Which would you rec­om­mend – or is there an al­ter­na­tive I should be con­sid­er­ing? Neil Davies, South Wales You need to get to grips with ex­actly what you want out of the bike. If you’re go­ing to be throw­ing it down the red and black runs at BPW or slip­ping and slid­ing down some of the more treach­er­ous trails in South Wales, then the Capra will be bet­ter suited. Both Jeff­sys are ca­pa­ble of han­dling this sort of ter­rain too, but the slacker an­gles and ex­tra travel of the Capra make it the smarter choice for get­ting wild. It ped­als pretty well for such a long-travel bike too, so you’ll still be able to put the miles in if you’re keen. At £1,899 (plus P&P) the AL model is within your bud­get. You’ll need to be mind­ful of siz­ing though, be­cause the Capra isn’t ex­actly mas­sive in terms of reach.

If your main fo­cus is go­ing to be on all-day mis­sions into the hills, then the Jeffsy makes more sense, es­pe­cially the 29er ver­sion. It’s still loads of fun, but the big­ger-di­am­e­ter wheels mean it car­ries speed in­cred­i­bly well, which makes a dif­fer­ence when it comes to rack­ing up the trail miles. We’d rec­om­mend up­ping your bud­get a bit and go­ing for the £2,199 (plus P&P) Jeffsy AL One 29, be­cause it’s the cheap­est to fea­ture 1x gear­ing.

Aside from those two op­tions, and as­sum­ing you’re happy to stick with buy­ing online, Canyon’s Spec­tral has al­ways scored well with us. The AL 5.0 EX model is well within your bud­get at £1,799 (plus P&P), al­though its Fox 34 fork is marginally flex­ier than the 35mm-legged Rock­Shox Lyrik and Pike on the YTs.

Light­weight big-wheeler

I’m look­ing to buy a com­fort­able 29er that’ll take some­thing in the re­gion of a 3in tyre. I’d pre­fer lighter tyres and a light build but don’t want to spend a for­tune. Ideally I’d go for steel, but this seems to add weight and cost. An­dreas Deufel, via email The choice of ‘29+’ bikes – which use 2.8 to 3in tyres on wide 29in rims – is re­ally quite lim­ited. If you’re on some­what of a tight bud­get, the most ob­vi­ous choice would be the Trek Stache. The Stache 5 is the cheap­est model, at £1,300, and has an alu­minium frame, a 120mm-travel Man­i­tou Ma­chete fork and 29x3in Bon­trager Chu­pacabra tyres. The four-bike line-up tops out with the £3,500 Stache 9.8. This gets a car­bon fi­bre frame, 11-speed SRAM X01/ X1 gear­ing, a Rock­Shox Pike RC fork and Bon­trager drop­per post.

If you want some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent and made from steel, there’s the Surly Kram­pus. The £1,800 full build gets you a SRAM NX 1x11 trans­mis­sion (but with a SunRace cas­sette) and 29x3in Surly Dirt Wiz­ard tyres. There’s no drop­per post or sus­pen­sion fork in sight though, so you’ll need to weigh up ex­actly what you want and what sort of rid­ing you’ll be do­ing be­fore emp­ty­ing your pock­ets.

An­other op­tion is to go for a ‘650b+’ bike in­stead. These also use 2.8 to 3in tyres, but on smaller-di­am­e­ter 650b (aka ‘27.5in’) rims. The over­all wheel di­am­e­ter isn’t far off that of a 29in rim fit­ted with a non-plus tyre, so some bikes ac­cept both wheel sizes (650+ and 29in, but not 29+). There are plenty of steel, alu­minium and car­bon op­tions in this cat­e­gory.

The YT Je sy 29 is a great all-rounder and its 29in wheels mean it car­ries speed re­ally well

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