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  1. #1
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    Is this the best bang/buck for a $1000ish Hardtail 29er?

    Long time lurker, first time poster. I conducted a search and haven't found much.

    I'm finally ready to purchase a re-entry into MTB ride. I used to spend hours and hours on trails in my neighborhood as a kid, and because I really hate running and really love anything on wheels, I have decided to get back into MTB riding.

    I'm not into brands/labels as much as I am quality and value. I realize that I'm not going to get a quality USA-made frame in my price range. I can't seem to find a better 'most bang for your buck' deal than the Moto Fantom 29Elite for $999 shipped.

    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Motobecane Fantom 29Elite

    Can anyone talk me out of it?

    Happy shredding,

    Brad

  2. #2
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    I know folks with Motobecanes and they are fine bikes and a good value. Are you sure of your size?

  3. #3
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    I'll sell you my slightly used El Mariachi for a similar price.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlmuncie View Post
    I know folks with Motobecanes and they are fine bikes and a good value. Are you sure of your size?
    I am about 5'7, 145-150lbs. According to the 'shove a book in your crotch and measure where it hits the wall' method, my inseam is about 30.75". I guess that sort of puts me between sizes-- although I've read it is better to size down. Yes?

    The Airborne Guardian is an interesting choice as well, at only $675 shipped + pedals. I'd probably end up upgrading the FD and the fork at some point down the road, but it's a really good value as well. The Goblin is a bit too much at over $1300 including shipping and pedals.

  5. #5
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    The new XC Gold fork that Rock Shox announced looks awesome for this sort of build. Might be worth trying to get ahold of one.

  6. #6
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    Put the Trek Cobia on your list. Picked up mine for $1050. 10 speed drivetrain and Recon Air Shock. Great bike.

    My road bike is from Bike Directs. They are a good value.

  7. #7
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    Both bikesdirect and airborne are good values.
    Have some wrenching skills for when it arrives/

    The Morobecane is specked out much nicer than the Guardian.
    Airborne also has the Goblin for $1200 which has nicer components than the Motobecane.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoomerBrian View Post
    Put the Trek Cobia on your list. Picked up mine for $1050. 10 speed drivetrain and Recon Air Shock. Great bike.

    My road bike is from Bike Directs. They are a good value.
    The Cobia has the Recon fork and 10spd drivetrain, but has a X5 RD and elixir1 brakes. I wonder if I'd find similar prices compared to their $1200 MSRP.

    The Gravity 29.4 [that I somehow just discovered on bikesdirect] has the recon fork, 10spd drivetrain, but X9 RD and elixir3 brakes for $899... but after a bit of googling, is it true that the Recon fork also comes in a spring version? I guess if it doesn't say air, it is spring..? That's annoying. Haha.

    In the specs list for the Moto Fantom29 Elite it says 'ROCKSHOX RECON SILVER TK29 SOLO AIR 29" QR 100mm LongTravel W/External rebound and TurnKey lockout'.

  9. #9
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    If $1200 is your range this is probably the most nicely spec bike for $1200 or less.

    Airborne Bicycles. Goblin

    You are kind of all over the board though in your shopping.
    Figure out what you want to spend and go from there.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    If $1200 is your range this is probably the most nicely spec bike for $1200 or less.

    Airborne Bicycles. Goblin

    You are kind of all over the board though in your shopping.
    Figure out what you want to spend and go from there.
    I'd really like to be under $1000 when its all said and done. The Fantom29 Elite is right there on the nose. It has the DynaSYS transmission, Recon Air fork, Elixir3 brakes. It wouldn't really need any upgrades out the box aside from maybe pedals and saddle.

    Even with all the floundering I'm doing, I still can't seem to find a better deal than that for the price. The Gravity 29.4 would be nice if I could easily convert the fork from spring to Air. It has X9/X7 10spd and the recon [I assume spring] fork. Is that possible? Sorry for the noob question there.

  11. #11
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    REI has a 20% off sale on the 999 Ponderosa with a Suntour Raidon air fork and X7 drive. 800 plus $20 membership if needed.
    Novara Ponderosa 29er Bike - 2013 at REI.com

  12. #12
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    I have not heard much good or bad about Novara but I will say that nobody beats REI's customer service. Some places may match it but nobody will beat their lifetime satisfaction guarantee. That being said, if you have an REI near you, I would say go for it. If you are not satisfied with the bike, they will give you a full refund no questions asked and you can get something else from them or someplace else.

    For $800 that bike is nicely equipped.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  13. #13
    DFMBA.org
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    Check this out too. Weight is very respectable for a 29er. And the wheelset could likely be made tubeless.

    Sette Razzo X7 10 Speed 29er Alloy Mountain Bike | Sette | Brand | www.PricePoint.com
    Please donate to IMBA or your local IMBA chapter. It's trail karma.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    REI has a 20% off sale on the 999 Ponderosa with a Suntour Raidon air fork and X7 drive. 800 plus $20 membership if needed.
    Novara Ponderosa 29er Bike - 2013 at REI.com
    Agreed.....I went to look at one at a local store and it was very nice....

  15. #15
    reading comprehension wat
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    How about this BMC Team Elite TE29 SLX from Backcountry for $1200? Lifetime returns. Good name brand, good parts, good geo, good looking, and good price. Only in large though.

    BMC Team Elite TE29/Shimano SLX Complete Bike - 2012 | Backcountry.com



    Size ST ETT Stack Reach HT HA SA CS BB Drop
    Large 21.1in
    (53.6cm)
    25.2in
    (64.0cm)
    24.8in
    (63.0cm)
    17.7in
    (45.0cm)
    4.33in
    (11.0cm)
    70.0 deg 73.0 deg 16.9in
    (42.9cm)
    2.25in
    (5.7cm)

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dv8xin View Post
    How about this BMC Team Elite TE29 SLX from Backcountry for $1200? Lifetime returns. Good name brand, good parts, good geo, good looking, and good price. Only in large though.

    BMC Team Elite TE29/Shimano SLX Complete Bike - 2012 | Backcountry.com



    Size ST ETT Stack Reach HT HA SA CS BB Drop
    Large 21.1in
    (53.6cm)
    25.2in
    (64.0cm)
    24.8in
    (63.0cm)
    17.7in
    (45.0cm)
    4.33in
    (11.0cm)
    70.0 deg 73.0 deg 16.9in
    (42.9cm)
    2.25in
    (5.7cm)
    That bike is sweet!!!! Great components and looks tight.....why no XL size????

  17. #17
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    Keep an eye on your local Craigslist too, there are some good deals to be had out there.

    I picked up this for less than $800 and it was practically brand new.

    SRAM XO, 2x10 Speed 29er Carbon Fiber Front Suspension Mountain Bikes - MTB - 2013 Windsor C29 Team29er | SRAM XX hardtail mountain bikes | Save up to 60% off list prices on new bicycles

    Todd

  18. #18
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    One more suggestion, if this will fit you, they have small still available and it has awesome components!!!! And I believe the REBA is the Dual air version.

    2011 Fuji Tahoe 29er 1.0 Hardtail Mountain Bike - Mountain Bikes - Complete Bikes - Shop by Item - Bikewagon

    Todd

  19. #19
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    Not a fan of motobecanes, Windsors or their Gravity lines. i have ridden them and hated everything about them. They geometetry is way off, they don't handle well and have many structural problems. The sales guy even tried to tell me it was the same exact bike as a Giant or Specialized but with a different sticker. They can sell them for less because they don't advertise like the big companies, but it was the same bike! What a crock of poo!! They aren't even close to any other brand except their own!
    My suggestion is go rideone, then test ride a few others in the same price range from Cannondale, giant, Specialized, niner, etc and feel the difference. I sold my Giant XTC composite 3 and replaced it with the $1000 Giant Talon 29er 0. I figured at almost half the price I could save the money for a nice set of road racing wells since my real passion is the road. I would rather have a new pair of Zipp Firecrest 404's then a carbon frame that gets ridden only a few times a year while the Zipp 404 will get thusands of miles..

    Try other brands besides what is sold at Bikesdirect.com or Cycle Spectrum (same company, same guy) and you will be so glad you did!

    just my thought's... oh and I love the Giant Talon 29er 0. Fast, light, and handles great. I was shocked at how nice it was for the price. best money move I made all year... well, so far.

    Good luck!

  20. #20
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    Hey guys, I am a long time lurker of the board but had to chime in here with my first post. Brad - my story is right in line with yours. Over 10 years ago I received my first Schwinn hardtail (about $700 at the time) and have continued to shred it every year (even though the frame is 2 sizes too small for me lol). Don't mean to hijack your thread here but I am getting ready to purchase a new bike around the $1000 mark as well. I had my heart set on a Trek Mamba but then started reading this board and the Airborne Goblin really caught my eye for $1199 (plus shipping/pedals/assembly if needed). My problem arose after reading more into the 'all mountain' forum where the more agressive frame/geo/shock seems like something I am extremely interested in. My question to the posters in this thread - Is it even worth looking for an 'all mountain' setup with a budget of around $1300 max? I live in Missouri and the trails are mostly rocky singletrack with some techy sections as well. Not really any DH/extreme terrain so thinking the XC style would still tackle everything I threw at it. Also came across the Kona Taro for $1299 which is considered 'all mountain' but has low end components compared to what I could get on the Goblin. Let me know if any of you guys have any input!

  21. #21
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    Theres a lot of online ordering on this thread. Make sure to figure in a visit to your LBS to remedy any derailleur or brake adjustment issues if youre not mechanically inclined. I have read some posts where they were adjusted properly from the store but also had an experience on my own bike where my FD cable slipped out of my FD and had to have the LBS fix it. They adjusted both for ~$15. Havent had any problems since. I do like that Fuji posted up there. NOS FTW!
    I'm a ******bag in real life so I dont have to be one on the interwebz.

  22. #22
    Ride 'Til Your Knees Hurt
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    Here's another good buy (IMHO) in that same price range: 2013 Charge Cooker Hi Mountain Bike - 29er Mountain Bikes

    Steel frame, Elixer 5 brakes, Sram X5/X7 drive train, Recon Silver (wish it was a Gold), WTB i19 wheels (supposedly includes tape and valves to go tubeless).

  23. #23
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    I am also interested in the same ~1000.00 price. Haven't seen any name brands. I bought a hardrock 29er two years ago and the frame quality is apparent junk. Flexes and causes "ghost shifts". I have been looking at the Giant XTC composite 3? Is there any problem with frame flex on the goblin, or motobecane? so many bikes have been mentioned with no clear winner? I would rather have a good frame than pay for good compnents on a junk frame. (thought on the Giant XTC compostie 3??) so many choices!
    Last edited by Tubulargoose; 03-24-2013 at 03:52 PM. Reason: spelling

  24. #24
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    This was my budget too, although I could have bought almost anything I wanted in the $3,000 range. The reason I stayed to the$1,000 range was that it was going to be my first 29er and i wasnt sure if i was going to like it as I'm not a big person and had never ridden the 29. So what did I do?

    I bought the Airborne Goblin. This bike fits me like a glove (18"). Why?

    Like I said, I went to four different Lbs in my area ready to spend up to $3,000 and none of them were very helpful in helping me find a bike. So the hell with them.

    I read up on the Goblin, read some reviews, researched the part group, and pulled the trigger. Three days later I put it together. If you have an allen wrench set, you'll be fine.

    Now, i did have to dial in the rear derailleur, but that was a couple of youtube videos and a screwdriver. Now I have a great bike, that is of super high quality, fast and lightweight. Don't be afraid of mail order, just do your research.

    Just my $.02
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    I'm satisfied knowing that what I wear during my "day" job makes me more of a man than you'll ever be.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zerort View Post
    I read up on the Goblin, read some reviews, researched the part group, and pulled the trigger. Three days later I put it together. If you have an allen wrench set, you'll be fine.
    I researched the Goblin hard out, if I could have gotten one to New Zealand for reasonable cost that's what I would've got. Great deal, awesome looking bike.

  26. #26
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    i dont have a goblin, but after looking at all the other specs that seems to be the best value. I would also replace avid brakes with shimano slx or XT

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBeing View Post
    Check this out too. Weight is very respectable for a 29er. And the wheelset could likely be made tubeless.

    Sette Razzo X7 10 Speed 29er Alloy Mountain Bike | Sette | Brand | www.PricePoint.com
    ^^^This. Sette makes a great bike and the components for the price cant be beat.
    People ask me all the time "who beat you up"? I tell them "a tree". They just look at me funny....

  28. #28
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    Is this the best bang/buck for a $1000ish Hardtail 29er?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zerort View Post
    This was my budget too, although I could have bought almost anything I wanted in the $3,000 range. The reason I stayed to the$1,000 range was that it was going to be my first 29er and i wasnt sure if i was going to like it as I'm not a big person and had never ridden the 29. So what did I do?

    I bought the Airborne Goblin. This bike fits me like a glove (18"). Why?

    Like I said, I went to four different Lbs in my area ready to spend up to $3,000 and none of them were very helpful in helping me find a bike. So the hell with them.

    I read up on the Goblin, read some reviews, researched the part group, and pulled the trigger. Three days later I put it together. If you have an allen wrench set, you'll be fine.

    Now, i did have to dial in the rear derailleur, but that was a couple of youtube videos and a screwdriver. Now I have a great bike, that is of super high quality, fast and lightweight. Don't be afraid of mail order, just do your research.

    Just my $.02
    ^^ this.

  29. #29
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    I picked up the gravity 4 points, which is the same bike you are considering. I can't say enough good things about it. The geometry is not off. It's not the lightest frame but it is rock solid. The component specs are decent where it counts. Stem, seat, and bars are not great but it helps keep the price down. Plus, those are your contact points and are the items that you would tweak to dial in the fit. I shortened the stem and went with wide bars. I hate long stems. Never could understand why they put them on mountain bikes. The wheels are pretty good although i had to increase the tension, especially on the rear. I swapped out the seat as well. There are plenty on Ebay. Don't be afraid to learn how adjust derailleurs and other components. It's easy and fun.

  30. #30
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    First of all; thank you, everyone, for your helpful and high quality input, shared experiences, opinions, deals, etc. You've all been very helpful! Also, I apologize for the delay in my reply-- I don't spend much time on my computer on the weekends and we had a snow day here yesterday. (Your tax dollars at work!)

    That said, some of you have made this decision much more difficult. Haha. The selection is overwhelming!

    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    REI has a 20% off sale on the 999 Ponderosa with a Suntour Raidon air fork and X7 drive. 800 plus $20 membership if needed.
    Novara Ponderosa 29er Bike - 2013 at REI.com
    This is an interesting deal, but the fork concerns me. I see that it's air, but I seem to hear nothing but bad things about Suntour. For $800, though, it's still got my attention.

    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    I have not heard much good or bad about Novara but I will say that nobody beats REI's customer service. Some places may match it but nobody will beat their lifetime satisfaction guarantee. That being said, if you have an REI near you, I would say go for it. If you are not satisfied with the bike, they will give you a full refund no questions asked and you can get something else from them or someplace else.

    For $800 that bike is nicely equipped.
    I do have an REI near me, I may go check some of their stock out on my way home from work this week.

    Quote Originally Posted by MTBeing View Post
    Check this out too. Weight is very respectable for a 29er. And the wheelset could likely be made tubeless.

    Sette Razzo X7 10 Speed 29er Alloy Mountain Bike | Sette | Brand | Price Point - Providing cycling enthusiasts with the finest components and gear, from the best brands, at the lowest possible prices and fastest delivery.
    This looks like a good one as well with the Recon Silver air fork and the X7 transmission. The downfall on that one is the lower end brakes (albeit still hydro) and the 7005 aluminum.

    Quote Originally Posted by dv8xin View Post
    How about this BMC Team Elite TE29 SLX from Backcountry for $1200? Lifetime returns. Good name brand, good parts, good geo, good looking, and good price. Only in large though.

    BMC Team Elite TE29/Shimano SLX Complete Bike - 2012 | Backcountry.com







    Size


    ST


    ETT


    Stack


    Reach


    HT


    HA


    SA


    CS


    BB Drop




    Large


    21.1in
    (53.6cm)


    25.2in
    (64.0cm)


    24.8in
    (63.0cm)


    17.7in
    (45.0cm)


    4.33in
    (11.0cm)


    70.0 deg


    73.0 deg


    16.9in
    (42.9cm)


    2.25in
    (5.7cm)
    Quote Originally Posted by TAPnTX View Post
    One more suggestion, if this will fit you, they have small still available and it has awesome components!!!! And I believe the REBA is the Dual air version.

    2011 Fuji Tahoe 29er 1.0 Hardtail Mountain Bike - Mountain Bikes - Complete Bikes - Shop by Item - Bikewagon

    Todd
    That BMC is awesome, but I definitely can't ride a large. I hope someone else benefits from you posting that!

    That NOS Fuji is very interesting, though...

    Quote Originally Posted by AlleganyBicycleShop View Post
    Not a fan of motobecanes, Windsors or their Gravity lines. i have ridden them and hated everything about them. They geometetry is way off, they don't handle well and have many structural problems. The sales guy even tried to tell me it was the same exact bike as a Giant or Specialized but with a different sticker. They can sell them for less because they don't advertise like the big companies, but it was the same bike! What a crock of poo!! They aren't even close to any other brand except their own!
    My suggestion is go rideone, then test ride a few others in the same price range from Cannondale, giant, Specialized, niner, etc and feel the difference. I sold my Giant XTC composite 3 and replaced it with the $1000 Giant Talon 29er 0. I figured at almost half the price I could save the money for a nice set of road racing wells since my real passion is the road. I would rather have a new pair of Zipp Firecrest 404's then a carbon frame that gets ridden only a few times a year while the Zipp 404 will get thusands of miles..

    Try other brands besides what is sold at Bikesdirect.com or Cycle Spectrum (same company, same guy) and you will be so glad you did!

    just my thought's... oh and I love the Giant Talon 29er 0. Fast, light, and handles great. I was shocked at how nice it was for the price. best money move I made all year... well, so far.

    Good luck!
    Thanks for your input and experience! I am planning to get out to my LBS this week, I just like to do a lot of research/dreaming before I get my hands on the stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zerort View Post
    This was my budget too, although I could have bought almost anything I wanted in the $3,000 range. The reason I stayed to the$1,000 range was that it was going to be my first 29er and i wasnt sure if i was going to like it as I'm not a big person and had never ridden the 29. So what did I do?

    I bought the Airborne Goblin. This bike fits me like a glove (18"). Why?

    Like I said, I went to four different Lbs in my area ready to spend up to $3,000 and none of them were very helpful in helping me find a bike. So the hell with them.

    I read up on the Goblin, read some reviews, researched the part group, and pulled the trigger. Three days later I put it together. If you have an allen wrench set, you'll be fine.

    Now, i did have to dial in the rear derailleur, but that was a couple of youtube videos and a screwdriver. Now I have a great bike, that is of super high quality, fast and lightweight. Don't be afraid of mail order, just do your research.

    Just my $.02
    Depending on how things go when I venture out to my LBS, I may end up with a Goblin as well for a little more than my original budget. It IS a really nice bike, overall.

    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    REI has a 20% off sale on the 999 Ponderosa with a Suntour Raidon air fork and X7 drive. 800 plus $20 membership if needed.
    Novara Ponderosa 29er Bike - 2013 at REI.com
    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    I have not heard much good or bad about Novara but I will say that nobody beats REI's customer service. Some places may match it but nobody will beat their lifetime satisfaction guarantee. That being said, if you have an REI near you, I would say go for it. If you are not satisfied with the bike, they will give you a full refund no questions asked and you can get something else from them or someplace else.

    For $800 that bike is nicely equipped.
    Quote Originally Posted by MTBeing View Post
    Check this out too. Weight is very respectable for a 29er. And the wheelset could likely be made tubeless.

    Sette Razzo X7 10 Speed 29er Alloy Mountain Bike | Sette | Brand | www.PricePoint.com
    Quote Originally Posted by dv8xin View Post
    How about this BMC Team Elite TE29 SLX from Backcountry for $1200? Lifetime returns. Good name brand, good parts, good geo, good looking, and good price. Only in large though.

    BMC Team Elite TE29/Shimano SLX Complete Bike - 2012 | Backcountry.com



    Size ST ETT Stack Reach HT HA SA CS BB Drop
    Large 21.1in
    (53.6cm)
    25.2in
    (64.0cm)
    24.8in
    (63.0cm)
    17.7in
    (45.0cm)
    4.33in
    (11.0cm)
    70.0 deg 73.0 deg 16.9in
    (42.9cm)
    2.25in
    (5.7cm)
    Quote Originally Posted by TAPnTX View Post
    One more suggestion, if this will fit you, they have small still available and it has awesome components!!!! And I believe the REBA is the Dual air version.

    2011 Fuji Tahoe 29er 1.0 Hardtail Mountain Bike - Mountain Bikes - Complete Bikes - Shop by Item - Bikewagon

    Todd
    Quote Originally Posted by AlleganyBicycleShop View Post
    Not a fan of motobecanes, Windsors or their Gravity lines. i have ridden them and hated everything about them. They geometetry is way off, they don't handle well and have many structural problems. The sales guy even tried to tell me it was the same exact bike as a Giant or Specialized but with a different sticker. They can sell them for less because they don't advertise like the big companies, but it was the same bike! What a crock of poo!! They aren't even close to any other brand except their own!
    My suggestion is go rideone, then test ride a few others in the same price range from Cannondale, giant, Specialized, niner, etc and feel the difference. I sold my Giant XTC composite 3 and replaced it with the $1000 Giant Talon 29er 0. I figured at almost half the price I could save the money for a nice set of road racing wells since my real passion is the road. I would rather have a new pair of Zipp Firecrest 404's then a carbon frame that gets ridden only a few times a year while the Zipp 404 will get thusands of miles..

    Try other brands besides what is sold at Bikesdirect.com or Cycle Spectrum (same company, same guy) and you will be so glad you did!

    just my thought's... oh and I love the Giant Talon 29er 0. Fast, light, and handles great. I was shocked at how nice it was for the price. best money move I made all year... well, so far.

    Good luck!
    Quote Originally Posted by Zerort View Post
    This was my budget too, although I could have bought almost anything I wanted in the $3,000 range. The reason I stayed to the$1,000 range was that it was going to be my first 29er and i wasnt sure if i was going to like it as I'm not a big person and had never ridden the 29. So what did I do?

    I bought the Airborne Goblin. This bike fits me like a glove (18"). Why?

    Like I said, I went to four different Lbs in my area ready to spend up to $3,000 and none of them were very helpful in helping me find a bike. So the hell with them.

    I read up on the Goblin, read some reviews, researched the part group, and pulled the trigger. Three days later I put it together. If you have an allen wrench set, you'll be fine.

    Now, i did have to dial in the rear derailleur, but that was a couple of youtube videos and a screwdriver. Now I have a great bike, that is of super high quality, fast and lightweight. Don't be afraid of mail order, just do your research.

    Just my $.02
    Quote Originally Posted by peterk123 View Post
    I picked up the gravity 4 points, which is the same bike you are considering. I can't say enough good things about it. The geometry is not off. It's not the lightest frame but it is rock solid. The component specs are decent where it counts. Stem, seat, and bars are not great but it helps keep the price down. Plus, those are your contact points and are the items that you would tweak to dial in the fit. I shortened the stem and went with wide bars. I hate long stems. Never could understand why they put them on mountain bikes. The wheels are pretty good although i had to increase the tension, especially on the rear. I swapped out the seat as well. There are plenty on Ebay. Don't be afraid to learn how adjust derailleurs and other components. It's easy and fun.
    Thanks for your input on the BD, it's still in the running for me but these folks have offered up some other really tempting deals I was unaware of!

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zerort View Post
    Why?

    Like I said, I went to four different Lbs in my area ready to spend up to $3,000 and none of them were very helpful in helping me find a bike. So the hell with them.
    That is the exact reason I went with Airborne. After some research they seemed to be a great bike for the price. Can't wait to get my bike!

  32. #32
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    Is this the best bang/buck for a $1000ish Hardtail 29er?

    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    REI has a 20% off sale on the 999 Ponderosa with a Suntour Raidon air fork and X7 drive. 800 plus $20 membership if needed.
    Novara Ponderosa 29er Bike - 2013 at REI.com
    + 1

    I just picked up the 2013 Pondo with the 20% coupon and couldn't be happier. After a lot of research and test rides this was the best bang for the buck that I could find. The 2x10 gear set, hydraulic disk breaks and 100mm air fork are fantastic changes to this year's lineup. I looked at comparable Specialized, Cannondale, Trek, Marin and GT before settling on the Pondo. I also seriously considered the Airborne Goblin. REI's return policy and the great deal sold me (that and the fact that Airborne has a hard time keeping the 16" & 18" in stock).

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickyk76 View Post
    + 1

    I just picked up the 2013 Pondo with the 20% coupon and couldn't be happier. After a lot of research and test rides this was the best bang for the buck that I could find. The 2x10 gear set, hydraulic disk breaks and 100mm air fork are fantastic changes to this year's lineup. I looked at comparable Specialized, Cannondale, Trek, Marin and GT before settling on the Pondo. I also seriously considered the Airborne Goblin. REI's return policy and the great deal sold me (that and the fact that Airborne has a hard time keeping the 16" & 18" in stock).
    I'm interested to see how you like that fork. I know that air forks are preferred, but I seldom hear good things about Suntour. Please keep us updated!

  34. #34
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    This has to be a scam site, right?

    Indonesia...

    BMC Teamelite TE29 SLX 29er 2012 Mountain Bike

    Anyone want to try it out and let us know? :-P

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jem7sk View Post
    That is the exact reason I went with Airborne. After some research they seemed to be a great bike for the price. Can't wait to get my bike!
    You will be very happy with the bike.
    by Silentfoe
    I'm satisfied knowing that what I wear during my "day" job makes me more of a man than you'll ever be.

  36. #36
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    Is this the best bang/buck for a $1000ish Hardtail 29er?

    Quote Originally Posted by littlebr4d View Post
    I'm interested to see how you like that fork. I know that air forks are preferred, but I seldom hear good things about Suntour. Please keep us updated!
    From what I've read, Suntour's line is varied from entry level to high end and that the Raidon LO 29 that comes on the Pondo is decent. The upside is that if anything goes wrong with it at any time, I can just take it back and exchange/return it. But, I'll let you know my thoughts when I've got enough miles on it to form an opinion.

  37. #37
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    I have a guardian with an upgraded fork. Being a pretty entry-level bike with great parts, I'm not afraid to aggressively ride it since I know it's not a $1500 hardtail. Even if you upgrade the fork and wheelset, you're looking at under $1800.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlebr4d View Post
    This has to be a scam site, right?

    Indonesia...

    BMC Teamelite TE29 SLX 29er 2012 Mountain Bike

    Anyone want to try it out and let us know? :-P
    So you'd go with this over a 2013 Cannondale Trail 2? I've placed an order at REI since I didn't like the ride or the fork of the Novara Ponderosa. I was impressed with the Rock Shox Gold air fork on the Trail 1, but didnt feel the need to spend that much and the Rock Shox Silver fork felt much better than the Suntour fork on the Ponderosa or the Trail 4 I rode.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by TAL2GK View Post
    So you'd go with this over a 2013 Cannondale Trail 2? I've placed an order at REI since I didn't like the ride or the fork of the Novara Ponderosa. I was impressed with the Rock Shox Gold air fork on the Trail 1, but didnt feel the need to spend that much and the Rock Shox Silver fork felt much better than the Suntour fork on the Ponderosa or the Trail 4 I rode.
    When you test an air fork bike check the air pressure the fork is setup at. It can affect the ride a lot.

  40. #40
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    If you can stretch your budget a little, I'd go for this...

    Universal Cycles -- Salsa Spearfish 3 Complete Bike - 2012

    Edit: Forgot OP is looking for a HT. Still a good buy IMO.

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    Based on this review I feel like the Cannondale Trail 2 29er may be a better fit for harder riding. This is a good review and comes from BMCs website, but it highlights this is an XC bike ... not as much of a trail rider.

    http://www.bmc-racing.com/fileadmin/...E29_Test-1.pdf

  42. #42
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    I went with Motobecane FantomPro 29 back in 2011 and so far I'm happy. It was the best deal I could find at that time at $1100 with Reba, X9 and Elixir3s.

    Over last 12 months i ended up upgrading wheels, tires, saddle, seat post, handlebar, stem and converting to 1x10.
    I still think it's a good platform to start with but now i'd build myself a bike for $1000 if i had to do it all over again or buy a Sette Razzo.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    REI has a 20% off sale on the 999 Ponderosa with a Suntour Raidon air fork and X7 drive. 800 plus $20 membership if needed.
    Novara Ponderosa 29er Bike - 2013 at REI.com
    Love my freshly acquired 2009 Ponderosa 29er.

    And REI's bike shop crew are great folks and consistently solid no-BS counsel.
    Cannondale Bad Boy Urban
    Specialized Hardrock Disc
    1225 miles

  44. #44
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    why didn't anyone mention the Cannondale Trail SL2 29er?

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by C-130JSuperHerk View Post
    why didn't anyone mention the Cannondale Trail SL2 29er?
    I'd have to guess its getting out of the "$1000ish" range and into the $1500ish range. Its mentioned in post #38. Heres my source- TRAIL SL 29ER 2 - Trail SL 29er - Hardtail 29er - Mountain - Bikes - 2013
    I'm a ******bag in real life so I dont have to be one on the interwebz.

  46. #46
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    My bad...Thought I made it all the way through the thread. I know that's the MSRP but everywhere I have looked has them for 1100 or less. That BMC looks great, but I am not familiar with the brand.

  47. #47
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    In my hometown craiglist is the best bet.
    Most of these bikes listed below retail for around 1k but I found them for much less.
    Sorry to invade this thread

    Ok I've found many good deals. I'm crossed between

    Really interested in =
    2012 Rockhopper $430
    2012 Exile Comp $550
    2012 Mamba $600

    Not so interested in
    2012 Marlin $550 w/Shimano Hydraulic Brakes & extra set of tires
    2012 Talon $450

    Any last minute help before I commit!

  48. #48
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    The Mamba has a trail usable fork. $562 bike blue book value, so bring cash.

  49. #49
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    FWIW Performance bike has been having pretty good discounts on their bikes my email say's up to 45% off.
    Might be worth looking into.
    You can shop online as well as in store plus they have been a great group to do business with for me and I understand they have a good Satisfaction Guaranty Policy.
    ​​
    2015 Flyxii / ENVE /Chris King Carbon 29'er H.T.
    SRAM XX1
    2012 Stump Jumper Comp 29'er H.T. SRAM XX1
    1997 Rock Hopper / Rock Shox Recon Silver / 1 x 10 SRAM X9 XO Mix XT V Brake system

  50. #50
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    I love my Felt 29er, but not much of a value pick. I believe that Giant gives you a lot of bike for the $. A lot my buddies with the Giant XTC Composite. It may be slightly above you're price range, but this time of year you should be able to get a good deal on the 2013's at the local bike shop!

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