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  1. #1
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    Entry Level...but not crap.

    Hi folks!

    Its time for a new Bike. (and a little backstory).

    I bought a Gary Fisher Tassajara back in 1997. I loved it, but broke the frame in 2002. It had a lifetime warranty, so I was sent a replacement frame. Turns out I was never comfortable on that frame and recently found out why, its an 18" frame. I am 6'5", and with a high seat post and risers on the handle bars, I could never make it comfortable enough where my hands won't go numb on long trips (10-30 miles).

    SO...its time for a new Bike...and I want BIG! 29er for sure. XXL for sure..23"+. I want a bike that is inexpensive, not cheap. I will upgrade as time goes by, but it has to be something that's worth upgrading.

    I don't run trail's too often, but I may start with this new bike. For little cash, what is the best bet, that can be upgraded but will be just fine even as it is. I saw the Fuji Nevada 29ER, Its very inexpensive, but I know its a 24 speed and I read reviews where the wheels are crap and I'm guessing the front fork is going to stink as well. I usually get an extra set of wheels, one for trails and one for street.

    So, what are my best options? I appreciate the help.

  2. #2
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    What are you looking to spend?
    2012 Salsa Horsethief

  3. #3
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    Like, I said...the less the better, but I am not against spending in the $600 range and then upgrade as the need arises. Upgrading from 24 speeds to 27 is more expensive if you do it after you buy the bike rather than just getting the 27 speeds originally, correct? I want to make a smart decision and not have buyers remorse afterwards where I feel stupid not spending an extra $100 and then having to spend multiple hundreds to upgrade.

  4. #4
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    I think your best bet is either finding a used hardtail. (Though it may be hard to find your frame size.) Airborne has the Guardian for $600 but it only comes in 22".

  5. #5
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    The Trek Marlin is on sale right now for $570. I test rode one the other day and it felt pretty nice. Granted it was my first time ever riding a nicer bike that wasn't a Huffy or whatever I had when I was younger.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by xa3phod View Post
    So, what are my best options? I appreciate the help.

    Save more money. "Upgrading" a $600 bike is not cost effective.

    If $600 buys you a bike you like and will fit your needs then buy it.

    But, I would not buy a $600 bike thinking you can add $600 in upgrades to make it like a showroom $1200 bike.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by xa3phod View Post
    Like, I said...the less the better, but I am not against spending in the $600 range and then upgrade as the need arises. Upgrading from 24 speeds to 27 is more expensive if you do it after you buy the bike rather than just getting the 27 speeds originally, correct? I want to make a smart decision and not have buyers remorse afterwards where I feel stupid not spending an extra $100 and then having to spend multiple hundreds to upgrade.
    For what it's worth...

    I got into the idea of buying a bike a few months ago and was in a similar position. I remember the $100 bikes I had as a kid so I set myself what I thought to be a lofty budget at $500, thinking I would get something 5x as good. I had a moment of sticker shock the first time I went into the local bike shop. I walked out with something for $1,500, had it for about 75 miles, returned it and got a road bike instead (it was literally the most expensive mountain bike in the store so I figured if it wasn't good enough I'd have to get it elsewhere and they'd only give me store credit so I got a road bike) for $1,900, and got a $4k mountain bike a month later.

    You don't NEED to spend that much, but please do your research. Find out what you want it for and what it'll take to get you there. For example, 24 gears vs 27 is likely irrelvant. The quality of the mechanisms that SHIFT the gears is a lot more important. There are a lot of guys on here with $5k+ bikes that have "only" 10 or 11 gears. Basically, number of gears is not necessarily a measure of quality or usability (to a point obviously).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by crit_boy View Post
    Save more money. "Upgrading" a $600 bike is not cost effective.

    If $600 buys you a bike you like and will fit your needs then buy it.

    But, I would not buy a $600 bike thinking you can add $600 in upgrades to make it like a showroom $1200 bike.
    I totally agree with this too. You end up buying the parts twice doing it this way and will only be able to sell the replaced part for a fraction of what you paid for the new one.

    If you want a better bike, buy it from the beginning so that you'll not only not waste money buying the parts twice, but you'll get the enjoyment of a better bike right from the start. If you're not in a financial position to pony up from the beginning, save for a month or two extra. You'll be better off in the long run.

  9. #9
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    When I was researching what bike to buy I also found out that it is better to pay more upfront if possible. I originally wanted to build my own thinking I could pick out quality parts and get it cheaper....wrong. You might pay $500 more for the better bike but you'll get like $1000 or so worth of better parts.

  10. #10
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    A friend of mine was in this situation a few months back. He was looking at cheap junk and I couldn't convince him to buy something used. He ended up with a new Giant Talon 29'er. It was around $1000 and seems to be a solid bike. THe only weakness I see is the rear derailleur. All of the guys in our group who have bought "cheap" bikes (under $800 or so) have replaced so many parts that they've got $1500+ invested in their rides.

  11. #11
    Crash Dummy In Training
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alias530 View Post
    I totally agree with this too. You end up buying the parts twice doing it this way and will only be able to sell the replaced part for a fraction of what you paid for the new one.

    If you want a better bike, buy it from the beginning so that you'll not only not waste money buying the parts twice, but you'll get the enjoyment of a better bike right from the start. If you're not in a financial position to pony up from the beginning, save for a month or two extra. You'll be better off in the long run.
    +1
    I've been saving since Feb. of this year.
    For me I thought I would spend $800 to $1,000 for a new Rock Hopper Comp or Pro and be happy with the bike I got.
    After researching I've found it's better to get upgraded component's from the start it's like the saying Pay Now or Pay Later.
    Even thou I'm going with a Specialized bike I would take a good look at Trek Product's they have this Red Shield program that you pay $150 for 5 years of warranty a buddy of mine has had repair's done that total well over $600 so far if not more in a little over a year.
    I wish Specialized had this type of program.

    Quote Originally Posted by TonyB. View Post
    A friend of mine was in this situation a few months back. He was looking at cheap junk and I couldn't convince him to buy something used. He ended up with a new Giant Talon 29'er. It was around $1000 and seems to be a solid bike. THe only weakness I see is the rear derailleur. All of the guys in our group who have bought "cheap" bikes (under $800 or so) have replaced so many parts that they've got $1500+ invested in their rides.
    Great point I've seen people spend $1,000 then spend $2,000 in up grade's the first year.

  12. #12
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    Cruise Craigslist - get something - then save for a nice bike.
    My bike is heavier than yours - it does not have Carbon or Titanium parts - I love it!

  13. #13
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    I was in a somewhat similar situation. 6'5" riding a medium frame on a low end Giant.
    I spent a lot of time on Craigslist, but had a hard time find a bike that XL, in my budget (800 - 1200), wasn't too old, cross country style, and 29er. I found many bikes that fit one or more, but could never find one that fit all of the requirements.

    So I ended up getting a bike off of Pricepoint. Cheap enough that I didn't go over budget, but it came with nice enough components that there was nothing that needed to be upgraded. Sure some things could be nicer, but I have been riding it a year and a half and nothing has broken, and everything has performed how I expected it to. I think the only thing that really needed to be done was to get a chainstay guard. A old tube does that for free.

  14. #14
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    I forgot to mention that if I were to do it now, I would probably go with the Airborne Goblin. Nothing is wrong with my Sette Razzo, but they decreased some of the components on the newer versions of the Razzo to keep the same price as before. The Goblin is more similar in terms of specs as my 2011 Razzo.

  15. #15
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    I bought my Rockhopper at 800.... liked to have died spending that much, however, if I had to do it all again I would by the Airborne Goblin. The specs on that bike is sick for the price.

  16. #16
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    I did this a few years ago, bought a Hardrock 29er for my first bike and within a couple months had broken the fork, bent both wheels, and needed to spend money replacing/upgrading the components. I wished I had spent $1000 on the Rockhopper instead.

    If you are going to ride a couple times a week $1k is a great spot if you can swing it, a bike you shouldn't need to spend any money on unless you WANT to upgrade, not out of necessity that may happen with a $600 entry level ride.
    Hardrock 29er, Niner EMD9, Cannondale F29, Camber Expert, 650b Nickel all gone.
    2014 Giant Anthem 27.5 here.

  17. #17
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    I have to agree with the others who are saying save your money for "more bike". I'd say continue to scour CL for a used bike with a higher component grade. It might take a bit of time but would pay dividends.I bought a $ 600 bike 4 months ago, and while a decent bike I wish I had spent two to three times more on my initial purchase.
    2012 GT Karakoram
    2013 Scott Genius 940

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by crit_boy View Post
    Save more money. "Upgrading" a $600 bike is not cost effective.

    If $600 buys you a bike you like and will fit your needs then buy it.

    But, I would not buy a $600 bike thinking you can add $600 in upgrades to make it like a showroom $1200 bike.
    This is the best advice here.

    I'm in the same weight range as you, and $600 bikes come with internal bearing cranks that you'll literally rip out of the bottom bracket. The chain and derailleur setups are also not designed for anything like the sort of torque a 200+lb individual can make. The front forks are fixed air, and are tuned brilliantly for somebody who weighs between 130-150lb - and of no use offroad to somebody who weighs 220. The only usable parts you'll be left with are the seat, tires, and maybe grips and front der.

    Front-load the cost to the max, and if you have to justify the cost, realize that cheap bikes aren't designed for big people, and most importantly that medical bills will completely eclipse the cost difference in bikes after one stupid problem. I was lucky in that my $500 bike completely betrayed me at low speed (the brakes failed and locked up front, bottoming out the shock, and skidding me into a rock that managed to bend the front wheel - the added resistance from that made me pedal hard enough to limp back that I completely stripped the crank in under 3 miles.) Under a grand new, it's like buying a new car where the dealership has decided to save money by removing the drivetrain and suspension parts and replacing them with parts from a third world clone of a motorcycle - it looks the part, but just doesn't come close.

    When you see a line of seemingly identical bikes, the bottom pair of them are usually the sub-stripper version where the cheapest part has been thrown on to term it a complete bicycle instead of the intended one, it's usually with parts from a brand that doesn't even appear on the higher spec version of the same bike. That's the stuff to be worried about - you'll still see positive reviews for the stuff on YouTube, but only from people who are trying to feel better about the purchase, and most importantly haven't ridden anything better.

  19. #19
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    Try to find a good deal on a $1000 bike. The Trek Mamba comes to mind. I had a special order offer through my LBS that I could buy a Mamba for $820 (it is a $1019 bike). I bought the Cobia instead for $960 (a $1239 bike).
    2013 Trek Cobia- 29er
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