Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups

FAT BIKES

WINTER APPAREL

TRAINERS

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  1. #1
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    Best value 29er? - thinking Trek/Specialized, but then I discovered Polygon Siskui!

    How do you compare the relative value of MTBs?

    This is how I did it, and the result surprised the hell out me!

    First of all, I am not a shill for any brand or outlet. I was the owner of a Giant Talon from 2007 and loved it. When considering a 60:40 road:trial mix, I naturally considered a Giant, but then I discovered the 29ers. I was very close to pressing the button on a Trek or Specialized bike when I discovered a new brand which is seemingly amazing value! .... please, fault my logic!

    (BTW, I am scientific engineering type so you'll have to excuse the precision with which I approached the task of evaluating my bike choices. With all the biased publications out there, I had no choice but to do this myself)

    Here's how I went about it

    Considering a spend of about $1000, I assembled a few brands and slimmed out the obvious losers.

    1. I ranked the componentry - since I don't believe the line that "it's all about the geometry", I figured the value of a bike is in the components, BUT, some are more than others.



    2. I assembled the specs of the all the bikes and ranked their total componentry quality, noting that all componentry is of different importance (hence forks and brakes score 5/5, whilst brake levers are only a 1/5) - thus allowing weighting of the various pieces



    3. I assessed each bike in terms of outright score and value

    Here are the results

    Considering that I was very very close to pressing the button on a Trek X-Caliber 7 or Specialized Rockhopper Comp, I was amazed when I discovered the apparent ranking and value of the Polygon bikes.



    Conclusion

    Considering that the Trek was my number one choice, I am blown away to see it come in last - ultimately, it has the least impressive gear and unless that frame has some incredible magic I don't know about, I am compelled to go for one of the Polygon Siskuis.

    I invite criticism of my logic and ranking ... please

  2. #2
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    The only thing that would change your scale is the actual price you pay out the door. My LBS that sells trek was the only place willing to negotiate their prices, the specialized dealer wouldn't budge. There is also something to be said with supporting your local LBS, as they can be a huge help when things break or you need help. Ultimately it is what you value and saving money always goes over better with the wife, unless she doesn't know about it in the first place, ga.

  3. #3
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    The fork is the most important component on a first bike when it comes to riding the rocky/rooty trails that will be the most fun for new riders. Any bike with an air fork will beat out a name brand bike at this level. Things change when you get to the point of buying your second bike.

  4. #4
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    Well, even the Polygon bikes don't really seem to be that great of a deal.

    There was a different thread about someone asking about a value 29er, and ended up buying a Diamond Back Overdrive Comp for about $600 after the 20%+ coupons that gets released every other week. Even if you know nothing about building a bike and pay someone $200 to do it, that's still cheaper than all of these options. It comes with a Rock Shox fork and primarily Shimano Deore parts. It's also a name brand bike,

  5. #5
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    The polygon siskiyu 7.0 definitely has the best component mix, but IDK anything about that bike company or their frames.

  6. #6
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    Not sure where you are getting your pricing info, but the list price of the 2016 X-Cal 7 is $959. I purchased a 2016 X-Cal-8 which listed for $1099 and I purchased for $999. Maybe do the comparison based on the 8. I highly recommend the X-Cal 8. I rode a bunch of different bikes and kept coming back to Trek. This is my first "real" mountain bike purchase, so I was in no way loyal to Trek.

  7. #7
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    Best value 29er? - thinking Trek/Specialized, but then I discovered Polygon Siskui!

    @jon23 - thank you. The prices listed are likely best prices, but fair point.

    @eb1888 - thank you for clarifying this point.

    @oneupme - I am in Australia - I think you're assuming my prices are $US - they are not. Besides, the value mechanism is an attempt to sidestep that.

    @jn24uk - $AU, not $US. I'll consider the X-Cal 8, thank you.

  8. #8
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    Nice excel work Justin. What are you riding now?

  9. #9
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    I recall hearing these are top notch value component-wise

    Seeker - Airborne Bicycle Co

    Goblin - Airborne Bicycle Co

  10. #10
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    I think your logic is flawed, I would always go for the best frame with the loot you have. Maybe only my opinion, but IME, geometry has everything to do with how a bike performs. Parts can always be upgraded, and parts like your drivetrain, i.e. cassette, rings, chain, etc. are meant to wear out and be replaced anyway.

    tell these guys geometry doesn't matter, lol. That's like picking the ugly chick with Louis Vuitton in a Mercedes, over the hot chick in sandals driving a Toyota.

    Last edited by Erock503; 1 Week Ago at 10:22 PM.

  11. #11
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    Hi All, and thank you again for all the input.

    I'm still hearing a lot of about geometry - I get that it's important, to a point - so, I've had a closer look at this issue by a) test riding a couple of the bikes in question, and b) comparing the geometric dimensions (see below). To my eye, the frame dimensions are near enough to each other to not make a difference, with the possible exception of the head and seat tube angles suggest that the Trek X-Caliber is more attuned to downhill descents (which in turn accounts for the 37mm increase in wheelbase).



    Interestingly, the Siskiu is lighter - I didn't expect that - I weighed both all bikes setup with my own digital scales.

    With regards to the wheels (a point which someone raised), the salesman agreed that the "Araya" brand were "cheap", and perhaps this is where they are save a few dollars. But at least they're not heavy (in so much as they don't contribute to excess weight).

    Someone mentioned brand - yes, a good point. With brand comes reputation (to both assure the buyer of good lineage, but arguably also to extract a premium price).

    The results of the test rides are incomplete (one yet to test), however the large X-Caliber impressed me greatly in that it was clean setup and spacious enough for some of my road cycling. The only Siskiu I've been able to ride is the medium, which was cramped, so I am yet to make a call on a decision between the two.

    I do wonder how much the brand rep of Trek is subconsciously influencing my decision. Yes, there's the comfort of an established brand, but against that, there's improved componentry in the Polgyon Siskiu.

    Stay tuned

  12. #12
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    Justin, how tall are you? Are you listing the Trek virtual or actual sizes? What model X-cal did you ride?

  13. #13
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    I am 178 cm - right on the verge of the M/L. Since I have a bias for road cycling (at least for the first few months), I am steering toward the large because I figure it will provide me with a more relaxed riding position (less cramped).

    I have ridden the 17.5 and 18.5 X-Caliber 7 and whilst the 17.5 would have been more beneficial off road, the 18.5 felt like a more relaxed cockpit.

    The sizes are Frame Size Number of believe - the larger one on the sticker. The salesmen have all indicated that I should ignore the smaller number.

  14. #14
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    I would go for the frame that feels the best, that's always the most important IMO, regardless of brand. Cockpit can be adjusted around that to fine tune your fit. I wouldn't feel bad about liking the established brand either, they are known to be quality frames, and if you decide to move it on at some point, it will be much easier to sell.

  15. #15
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    @ Justin Moss

    * First I appreciate your time and skill to do this

    * It's a point worth considering.

    * Disclaimer I have zero professional nor other ties to the bicycle industry.

    As I read this I immediately thought "Polygon" who/what is that? In todays world of labeling rather than actually having the knowledge,experience,education to manufacture I see company's come and go. There are a couple company's you have listed that I doubt will go anywhere in the foreseeable future and do have Lots of experience.
    I also immediately thought of a world with out local private owned bicycle shops > to me, that would suck pretty bad. The sure way to get there is to price shop/shop in general and purchase from the internet rather than brick and mortar LBS.

    Remember the nice book stores and the quality time spent there? I do.......thank Amazon

    I flyfish and tie avidly. I remember flyshops. The last one close to me......(still was 70 miles away) where I could walk in, hands on and look at what fly tying materials I may purchase, have them explain with first hand high level experience about a fly rod > gone

    Trek,Specialized,Giant,etc. I don't care about them yet use them because thats what LBS's have. I do care,use,appreciate LBS's. Trek,Specialized,Giant - tend to work with,protect (internet) their loyal in return , established dealers. It's a balance system that holds on for now anyways..........ultimately the internet (purchasing) will likely crush most of the LBS except large cities/metro. That will suck imo - big box stores will still have bikes (yuk) and I am sure New York City along with other major metro's will still have private LBS's..........maybe


    So imo - your choice is not really "best bang for the buck". But, rather do you want brick (brick and mortar store/LBS) for your buck$ down the road..........

    IMO- BUY THE 'BEST VALUE" FROM THE NEAREST LOCAL BIKE SHOP TO YOU THAT YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT.

    You don't need to make a spreadsheet shop the world vis the net for that.

    "components" - just my opinion. The lower end groups work just as well from companies like Shimano. Just as durable, last as long or longer.................it's 2016 not 1956. The cost difference in most bicycle components seems to double even triple for very little extra efficiency,function,durability. Why? Because thankfully gear heads have to have the latest,greatest which allows functionality to trickle down at normal costs to the rest of us non elite racers, with common sense. No one actually looks at,notices,cares what components are on your bike when out riding anyways............its just do they work well,durable,etc. Frankly, I would prefer a bike with Zero labels on it

  16. #16
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    Reading the first post hurt my head.

    "Best value" comes down to so much more than figures and specs

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