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  1. #1
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    Picking Out first FS bike for my son - C'Dale Habit Carbon Vs. Marin Hawk Hill 2

    Ok....I know the title compares two bikes that are in two completely different price points. Here's the reason for the two, but....of course, I am not married to only these two:

    Keep in mind this is for a high school kid, who is still growing (although almost done), and still finding his riding style. He loves going fast, loves catching air, although he doesn't yet have his big air skills developed yet, is very interested, and constantly practicing his technical techniques - hopping the bike over objects, kicking the back end around corners, etc. He bunny hops fairly well, and is improving by the day. He's a little lazy on climbs, and doesn't enjoy it as much as he enjoys taking the trails in the downhill direction. He hasn't tried "true downhill" riding yet, and I don't think he wants that, but he does like fast trails with obstacles.

    1) 2018 Marin Hawk Hill 2 - Everybody always says "if you can't spend $X on a FS bike, get a hard tail (when buying new). Well, the Marin bikes seem to buck the trend on the opinion of entry level FS bikes. All reviews I've read on the Hawk Hill series have been great, and for 2018, they have added two upgraded models. There are many comments along the lines of "great value," "best bang for the buck," "you'd never know it was an entry level bike," etc. Here's my question - Is the Hawk Hill series a great entry level bike, or a great bike period? Are the positive comments simply relative to the price?

    2) 2017 Cannondale Habit Carbon 3 - I would never compare a $3,800 bike to a $1,900 bike....until now. The reason being is that the C'Dale can be had for a crazy low price right now, and it seems to me that I would be crazy to pass up the deal, as it's only a few hundred bucks over the Marin. This raises questions for me: Why is it so cheap, when the same store is selling leftover '16s for more? Does the '17 Habit Carbon 3 have issues? There is little info out there on this bike, but what I have found is very conflicting. Some people say it's very stiff and feels like a hard tail on the down hills (Not what I'm looking for if true), but others say it's a very soft/noodly bike that isn't really intended for catching air or taking hard hits, basically saying it's just a cushy cross country ride. There are other comments that are in between. I've only been able to find one actual article on it, and it only got 3 out of 5 stars, due to the rear suspension. Also, is carbon durable? At least when compared to aluminum....

    So, am I crazy for comparing these two? Is the Habit a screaming deal, or a model with BO that they can't get rid of? Is the Hawk Hill a great starter bike, but completely outclassed by the Habit, regardless of price? I need a bike that's going to last, yet perform. I've already told him that his next bike is on his dime. See, for me, I am interested in something like the Pivot Mach 5.5, 429 Trail Plus, or the Switchblade in plus configuration. But, for me....first of all, I can make that bike last years, as I am not hard core. Honestly, any of those bikes would be "overbiking" for me, but that's a topic for a different thread. But for my son, buying a $6,000 bike would be insane. He does ride 6, if not 7 days out of the week, which is great, but.....I don't see any bike lasting him much more than a couple of years. He's not abusive, but his riding style and preferences are much more aggressive than mine are, and as his riding style evolves, there are many opportunities to buy the "wrong" bike, and I'd rather do it $1,500-$2,000 at a time that $5-$6k at a time. Funny, the first mountain bike I bought myself (Cannondale F500 Head Shok) was on sale for $600, regularly $800, and the high end "Team Cannondale" racer was like $3,900. I never thought I'd see a time when a $3,000 bike was considered "entry level" or a "great price point."

  2. #2
    Jyn
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    Canít help you on the comparison, but the Hill 2 is a solid bike.

  3. #3
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    Another couple of options to consider are the Mongoose Teocali. My take on the review is that it is an Endure bike with the mannerisms of a long legged trail bike.https://www.singletracks.com/blog/mt...onable-prices/ http://www.mongoose.com/usa/teocali-sport-20553Just got a pretty decent review on either MTBR or pinkbike. I can't recall at the moment. But does fall into your price range. Also there is Save Up To 60% Off Road Bikes, Bicycles, Mountain Bikes and Bicycles with Bikesdirect.com, New with full warranties They don't have the bling image of the big name brands. But I have directed customers to their website who are on a budget. You get outstanding value for the money spent and the frames & parts have an outstanding warranty which they are very proactive at dealing with warranty issues should any problems arrive. I just checked there website. It appears the xmas holiday cleaned them out of many choices at the moment. But still worth checking out. Lastly diamondback bikes. The new release has earned stellar reviews. Also I heard a rumor that if you create an account, select a bike and put it in your cart, than leave it in the cart for 24+ hours they will send an additional discount coupon to use at checkout. Sorry to make things more confusing. https://www.diamondback.com/release-1

    It doesn't sound like the habit would be right for you son. It's a great value at that price, but again I don't thinker's what he is searching for. A great climber, but not a rowdy fun descender unless it's flow trails.

    Well good luck and keep us updated.
    Yeti SB95C
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  4. #4
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    Thank you for the comments so far! Lots to think about!

    Let me add another option to the list: 2017 Cannondale Bad Habit 1, lefty 2.0, etc, which can be had for a good price as well right now. Does the Bad Habit series have the same reputation as being a flow bike as opposed to a strong descender/big air bike? Based on the regular habit feedback so far, to include what I've read on other threads.

    I'm not trying to imply that my son catches big air...he doesn't, at least not at this time. He is the type that tries to turn every root and rock on the trail into an opportunity to grab air, albeit small air.

  5. #5
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    Go on ebay or craigslist and get him a few years old Intense Tracer or Stumpjumper, or any good bike like that.

  6. #6
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    I really cant help on the comparison either but Ive heard great things about the Marin. Check out the 2017 Diamondback Release models. Theyre highly spec'd for the price point. I picked one up about 6 months ago and I absolutely love it. After months of looking I finally decided to pull the trigger after I kept reading all the awesome reviews. But I also agree on looking at some bikes on craigslist in your area just to maybe broaden your bike choices.

  7. #7
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    I think I'm picking up my hawk Hill 2 this weekend. First ride will be down Tam from the top with my 17 yr old son . Will try to reply then. I'm stoked. Orin

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orink4@gmail.com View Post
    I think I'm picking up my hawk Hill 2 this weekend. First ride will be down Tam from the top with my 17 yr old son . Will try to reply then. I'm stoked. Orin
    Awesome! Nothing like "new bike day!" A report would be awesome as well, thank you!

  9. #9
    the half breed devil
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orink4@gmail.com View Post
    I think I'm picking up my hawk Hill 2 this weekend. First ride will be down Tam from the top with my 17 yr old son . Will try to reply then. I'm stoked. Orin
    congrats.

    i purchased a 2017 HH (before they split the line into three levels) and i'm pretty happy with it except for some small details easily switched out--mainly the resin-only brake rotors and the cheap shifter cable.

  10. #10
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    I've started searching used bikes, in an attempt to get a higher end bike. What are your thoughts on the Santa Cruz Bronson C vs. a Pivot Mach 6? The SC is a 2015, and the Mach 6 is a 2014. I think the Mach 6 is the "higher end" bike, but then again, maybe that's just cuz I lean toward that brand. Also, the 2018 Mach 6 is quite a different bike as compared to the previous two generations. The prices are similar....if the Bronson was noticeably cheaper, I would get that, as it's local, and we can get our hands on it before buying. Otherwise, the Mach 6 stands out. My head is swimming!!! So many choices....

  11. #11
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    My nephew has the 2017 Mach 6, bought on sale at Competitive Cyclist and my son has a 2018. The 18 has more modern geometry, longer top tube & shorter stem. The rear DW*Link is the same on both. Both are great bikes, you can't go wrong with either.

  12. #12
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    30 plus miles ,3 rides on the same mtrail. Feeling everything out, but I love my bike. Tires are suspect, but will be tubeless next week. May upgrade to higher level drivetrain with gripshift. And 30th front for lower gear . Or, maybe I'll actually get in shape again.
    Narrower bars and maybe longer stem. Had to pick a price point ,I think I nailed it. $1850 + 30% in gear . Pretty enticing.
    So far all smiles! Good luck , it's all complicated.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agar426 View Post
    I've started searching used bikes, in an attempt to get a higher end bike. What are your thoughts on the Santa Cruz Bronson C vs. a Pivot Mach 6? The SC is a 2015, and the Mach 6 is a 2014. I think the Mach 6 is the "higher end" bike, but then again, maybe that's just cuz I lean toward that brand. .
    Both great bikes if the sizing is right. Ride them both and notice how it feels to pedal while out of the saddle and turning sharply (do figure 8s). You can do this in a parking lot and it tells you how centered you are on the bike. You may not feel a diff but if you do you'll know which one will be more natural for you to learn on. If they feel the same to you, pick your favorite color!
    oops I wasn't clipped in

  14. #14
    FTF
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    I just bought a bad habit for an amazing deal, love the bike, I don't think you could go wrong with it, especially given some of the deals out there on the habit/bad habit right now. Plus you get a warranty on a new bike. I was looking at a lot of bikes, and well, the bronson and a pivot were on the list of bikes to consider, very happy with the cannondale both in ride and price.

  15. #15
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    So, since 2wks ago , went to tubless,interesting. Lost 6oz.
    Still not sure about tires. Got gx grip shift on today. If their is a God? He would use grip shift. It's so much more accurate this way. All smiles here. Have fun.

  16. #16
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    Habit 3 comes with a carbon frame, pike, and xt brakes, and a lifetime warranty. It is pretty tough to beat at that price point. It is a good do it all bicycle that can do everything from race to playful jumps and drops.

  17. #17
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    Thanks everyone for the great comments! So.....my son ended up riding quite a few bikes, new and used. Cannodale Habit, Cannondale Bad Habit, Norco Torrent, 3 different Bronsons, 4 different Pivots, Transition Patrol. He's been a Santa Cruz fanboy for a long time, but he ended choosing the Transition....simply because it felt the best. He's had it two days and he loves it! The only thing that he's not liking is the performance of the dropper....it keeps getting stuck. It is a lower end dropper, and we always planned on upgrading it, with that being said, we are still going to get back with the shop to see if they can warranty it.

  18. #18
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    Love the bike,especially with grip shift change. What level is yours outfitted At? Somebody said it felt "Dead " I get that it doesn't feel especially lively, but it works. Is that good or bad? How does yours feel? Mines 33lbs. even with only tubeless , pedals and the mount for the pump. Ride on, Orin

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