$1,500 and under
This original generation of the DHR is called the “twin tube” version, after its dual top-tube design. This generation of DHR can only use a monotube shock, unless the reservoir is remote. Avalanche Downhill Racing makes a very nice, modestly priced ($400) shock that matches this bike wonderfully. This bike also responds very well to eccentric shock hardware. (Note that the 2003 DHR ought to be avoided, as they had a tendency to crack over the main pivot and in places that a second hand buyer would never see with a close inspection.)
SRAM X9 and RockShox Boxxer fork
The Chumba F4 is likely the most modern, geometry wise, compared to most bikes of its area (65-degree head angle and 13.7” bottom bracket). There are a few things to be aware of on these bikes: the rear wheel has a wacky dish to fit the floating brake adapter; some of the oldest Chumbas use floating brake adapters that only fit the original Hayes Mag 22mm calipers, which are nearly impossible to find; and the replacement floaters are likewise difficult to find. Also, check the headtube gussets for cracks. Otherwise, these bikes ride exceptionally well, with their linkage driven single pivot.
Trek Session 10
Shimano Saint, Manitou suspension
The Session 10 has three settings in which it can be run. I would strongly suggest going straight to the lowest and slackest setting. Also of note, this bike uses the less common 10.5 x 3.5 size shock, which offers a lower compression ratio and therefore smoother stroke than the V10, but makes sourcing replacement shocks slightly more limiting.
Shimano Saint and Fox 40 shock
I would strongly suggest ordering a -1.5 or -2 degree headset for this frame right off the bat, as it is fairly steep compared to current frames, but the quality of suspension is exceptional. The frame itself is one pound heavier than the newest version. Also offered is the Glory 8 from similar years, which spec single crown forks and less expensive build kits. Just note that it is very common for these bikes to develop cracks around the headtube and shock mounts, so please check the frame over very carefully before buying.
This version is the predecessor to the “round tube” version (below) and is called the “square tube” version. These bikes, like the twin-tube version above, can only use a monotube shock, unless the reservoir is remote, and retrofitting an Avalanche Downhill Racing shock will boost the performance dramatically. Also of note, the geometry of this bike is slightly dated, but can be easily modified with great success through eccentric shock reducer hardware, which will lower and slacken the bike.
$1,500 to $2,000
The second generation V10 aluminum laid the groundwork for the current carbon V10. It’s a great bike, and readily available. Of note, the 2007 received a stiffer rear end than the 2006.
Specialized Demo 7
SRAM X9, RockShox fork, Fox rear shock
The Demo 7 and its cousin the Demo 8 are rather similar bikes of this vintage. However, the Demo 8 was prone to cracking at the bottom bracket, and time has proven that the Demo 7 is actually the preferable DH bike, in terms of suspension and geometry. The Demo 7s were all shipped with single crown forks, such as a RockShox Totem, and many have been switched over to dual crown DH forks. Both are great solutions for this bike.
This generation of DHR is known as the “round tube” version. It is the latest version outside of the current “DW-link” DHR. One nice upgrade on this generation of DHR is that it can take modern shock with a reservoir, unlike the older generations. Its geometry is also quite modern, and this bike is known for its exceptional no-frills ride.
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