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  1. #1
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    Advice for newbie crossing over to the full suspension side

    I purchased my first mountain bike at the beginning of 2014. A 2014 Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc 29er. I have enjoyed it tremendously on singletrack mountain trails and after an 18 mile ride this past weekend in Taos I've decided that my first order of business for the 2015 season is getting full suspension 29er. I'd much appreciate how to navigate my research. Obviously money is an issue since it seems as if you can spend up to and over $10k on some carbon rigs out there. I'm probably thinking off hand looking in the $1500 to $1800 range and will possibly consider a used bike. Thanks for any advice as I still consider myself a newbie to the awesome world of MTB.

  2. #2
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    If you stick with that price range, you need to get a used bike. Advice? FS bike pedal very differently. Don't buy one without riding it. There is no magic bullet here. Some people love the way certain bikes pedal, while other's hate that bike, and like something completely different. You need something that suits your style of riding. But you'll not get a decent new bike in that price range.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    If you stick with that price range, you need to get a used bike. Advice? FS bike pedal very differently. Don't buy one without riding it. There is no magic bullet here. Some people love the way certain bikes pedal, while other's hate that bike, and like something completely different. You need something that suits your style of riding. But you'll not get a decent new bike in that price range.
    Thanks for the reply. So talking used, what should I shoot for?

  4. #4
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    On another note I see lots if folks building their own bikes. What's to know about that?

  5. #5
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    A question, will you be keeping the hardtail? A possibility is doing a build where you take all your HT components (the ones that will work with a given FS frame) and swap them over.

    For building a bike you have to determine if you are going to take a stab at it our if you are going to have the LBS assemble because it does take specific tools and is not necessarily intuitive. My buddy and I spent 3hrs last night putting mine mostly together, but that was with us having beers and talking about different lines for cables and what not. If we had just hammered it out we could have probably been done in that time if not sooner.

    Does building your own come out cheaper than buying a new bike? Well that all depends on your bargain hunting skills, how long you are willing to wait and that kind of stuff. I was able to build a sick FS mid travel bike (140mm all around) for right at $2k (my Thumper build). However, I got a stellar deal on the fork and frame that is pretty much unheard of and the wheels were custom built and the builder charged me very little.

    So it becomes a balancing act, if you are not going to swap parts over from the HT or try and sell it then yes going with a store bought FS is the way to go. If you are willing to invest in some tools, do some learning, make a few mistakes that may cost you a bit a of money and are going to swap the parts from your current bike then yeah give it a shot.
    Inbred 29r (Purple People Eater)
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregnash View Post
    A question, will you be keeping the hardtail? A possibility is doing a build where you take all your HT components (the ones that will work with a given FS frame) and swap them over.

    For building a bike you have to determine if you are going to take a stab at it our if you are going to have the LBS assemble because it does take specific tools and is not necessarily intuitive. My buddy and I spent 3hrs last night putting mine mostly together, but that was with us having beers and talking about different lines for cables and what not. If we had just hammered it out we could have probably been done in that time if not sooner.

    Does building your own come out cheaper than buying a new bike? Well that all depends on your bargain hunting skills, how long you are willing to wait and that kind of stuff. I was able to build a sick FS mid travel bike (140mm all around) for right at $2k (my Thumper build). However, I got a stellar deal on the fork and frame that is pretty much unheard of and the wheels were custom built and the builder charged me very little.

    So it becomes a balancing act, if you are not going to swap parts over from the HT or try and sell it then yes going with a store bought FS is the way to go. If you are willing to invest in some tools, do some learning, make a few mistakes that may cost you a bit a of money and are going to swap the parts from your current bike then yeah give it a shot.
    I hadn't thought of using my components since my bike is an entry level Specialized I'm not sure if installing those components would be worth it and what would work and what would not?? With that said, I had thought of selling my hard tail to help come up with funds to buy a fs bike. Now I'm open to really anything at this point. As far as putting together my own bike I feel like I could do most of it as I'm pretty mechanically inclined then maybe have the lbs do final adjustments.

  7. #7
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    As far as bike model quality I should shoot for; can someone recommend for example a certain make and model to shoot for the certain model and above and stay away from a certain model and below and why? It would give me a great baseline to start. Thanks...

  8. #8
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    We need to know a little more about what you do and how you ride before we can start throwing things out there... Really with your budget you are definitely going to have to look at used, but with Interbike around the corner the 2014 models will be going on discount and any 2013s left will be going on steep discount.

    Can you get us exact model of your Hardrock. Is it the lowest model? The thing to thing about swapping is that it is a means to an end, you will be able to ride sooner for build up vs searching for a proper used bike.

    Other than that, the best thing is to go demo some FS bikes. Like was said before, not all FS bike pedal the same so you will need to find something that works the way you like and is in your price range. One last option would be to talk to your LBS about a possible "trade-in" of your HT with the new bike. If you have built up a relationship with them you may be able to lean that way.
    Inbred 29r (Purple People Eater)
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  9. #9
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    My riding style consists of trail single track riding, some double track--nothing crazy but lots of rocks, roots, ruts etc.

    My Hardrock is not the very base model as it has hydraulic disc brakes and is a 29er. It is a 2014 Hardrock Disc Sport 29

  10. #10
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    For whatever it's worth Matt, I was in a similar boat about two years ago. Wanted to get into riding again by my beat-to-death HT Trek 26 was killing me - no fun, hard to climb, noisy, hard on wrists/ankles/knees.

    Started with the idea to get a decent HT 26 (500ish). Then learned about 29ers (700ish). Then rented/demo'd a FS 29er (2000ish). Hook line and sinker.

    Got end of year super sale on a '12 Camber Comp (1800+ tax IIRC). Cross shopped Trek, Santa Cruz, Giant, Cannondale, all were comparable at 2K, but the discount on the Camber let me afford an upgrade (from std to comp).

    The '15s are just starting to come out. End of year clearance is generally Oct/Nov.

    Funny thing, now I want a hard tail, and was actually looking at bikes similar to yours. Took a sip of the superslack/shortstay koolaid, so now that's all I can think about... Dammit, back to 2K.

  11. #11
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    I was and still am in a very similar situation. Rode a decent 29er HT bike for many years, just sold it and now looking for a FS 29er. I've ridden Trek Fuels (pretty nice), Specialized Stumpy and Camber (alright), and Niner JET and RIP 9's (very nice, all just my opinions) and hope to be getting a RIP 9 soon. Ride a bunch of bikes, see which ones feel the best and go from there. I've been looking/riding these for a few months now knowing that I'd be doing this sometime soon and I still debate about the pros/cons of some.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the info guys! I have been reading a bit on the Camber and Fuel; however they seem to barely cross the entry level bike category in quality according to the feel I get. I'll look at the Rip and Niner. There's a couple of nice Camber Comps for sale locally on craigslist but for the price they ask it's hardly worth buying used. $1200-$1400. Are there FS mountain bikes out there that are considered good quality rigs that are NOT carbon?

  13. #13
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    Sure there are bikes out there that are good quality that aren't in carbon frames. But the thing you have to remember is that you will end up paying for it in some way or another. Look at the SCOTT Genius and Spark for some XC/AM/Trail FS bikes as well. They both have been getting good reviews, also there is the Giant Anthem X 29er (and Trance X 29er if you can find one used or last years model) and plenty of others like the Kona Satori, Salsa Horsethief, Salsa Spearfish, etc.
    Inbred 29r (Purple People Eater)
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  14. #14
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    Thanks for the ideas gregnash! THat's exactly what I was looking for is just ideas. I had never heard of Salsa but that horsethief sure seems to stand out on the reviews I've read in comparison to other similar priced bikes. That will definitely be on my list of test rides along with the Specialized Camber and Trek Fuel.

  15. #15
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    Well if you like the Horsetheif then the Satori is a very very similar bike. To add to that, if you are looking to swap parts from current bike (though you would need new fork for more travel) you could look at the Hammerhead Thumper (which I just built mine). My build was a combination of eBay, used and new items and quick and dirty weight came in at 30#. Just finished her last night.

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    Inbred 29r (Purple People Eater)
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