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  1. #1
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    Getting the bug for a second bike (long, bear with me plz!)

    TL;DR - suggestions to cross shop with a Kona Taro?

    Long time car collector, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised two seasons in my '12 Camber Comp has my eyes wandering.

    I've been riding 1-2 days a week (5-15mi, 600-1500' each ride) and am hooked bad. My Specialized is a gem, does everything I want, super comfortable, great on climbs, jumps, downhill, I mean really, I couldn't be more pleased.

    But still.... I feel like a guy cheating on his awesome hot wife.

    My thought (rationalization more than anything) process was, "get a cheap HT to ride with my boys (9 and 12) to save wear and tear on the real bike." Figured $200 on CL would find me something workable.

    Except I really want hydro brakes and a decent fork. That's fine, my kids can grow into it. Maybe stretch to $400?

    At the FLBS today took a test ride on a Kona Taro. Oh my gosh, this was PERFECT! Different enough character from my Camber to not be redundant, I really loved the geometry of it. I mean really. Slack and laid back, short chainstays, I felt like I had that downhill body posture I often yell at my kids to adopt while being terrorized at their inability to get their asses out of the saddles. I'm drooling thinking about it... even though it's not any lighter than my Camber.

    But I digress.

    As luck would have it, the Taro is $1400. A long way from the $200 I wanted to spend, but isn't that always how it goes. And of course it's a large (since riding a medium FS 29er has embiggened my riding style). Which of course means putting my 12 year old on it next year is out, as is putting my wife on it (if she ever takes time away from yoga to go outdoors(doubtful)).

    I digress again.

    Coming to the point - any suggestions (other than brevity)?
    Hardtail, slack geometry, short chainstays, nimble yet stable.
    26/27.5/29 I don't really care (though I understand 26 is on the way out).
    Hydro brakes and decent fork are a must.
    New ones to watch for on yearend closeout?
    Used gems?
    Sack up and buy what I want?

    My previous new high-limit was a Rockhopper (about 800), but having gotten the bee in my bonnet over the Taro's geometry, I doubt the Rockhopper would have the right feel.

    Thanks for bearing with me. If you have

  2. #2
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    FYI any comments or feedback is welcome, please don't be shy.

  3. #3
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    Find an end of season deal on a Trek Stache. A little above your budget, maybe, but that's my recommendo!
    The drive towards achievement and success is the motive power of civilization.

  4. #4
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    Keep going with the budget up to 2k(discount) and get a carbon Trek Superfly 9.6. Great new this year geo, handling is quick & stable and outstanding compliance.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyle242gt View Post
    FYI any comments or feedback is welcome, please don't be shy.
    Taro is really nice but Honzo gets you the steel ride, compatibility with your other bike (142 mm axle, 10 speed), and superior fork. Taro or Honzo, consider a 30t wide/narrow and no chain guide. I like the Honzo ride so much that my dual suspension bike has gathered dust most of the season.

    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    Find an end of season deal on a Trek Stache. A little above your budget, maybe, but that's my recommendo!
    Nice bike but not the feel the OP probably got with the Taro/Honzo super short stays, slack and low.

    Other nice bikes exist in style of Taro or Honzo but probably even more money. The Yelli, Nimble 9, Paradox, check out On One, Chromag, and more but it's very hard to beat the two Konas discussed because they're more common and at good price points.

  6. #6
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    Thanks so much you guys!!

    Just looking at pics online I can see which ones match up and which don't, and bit nails it - short stays, slack, and low.

    Good to know if there's anything comparable at the bottom end of the price spectrum. Stache looks comparable, and we have a local outlet. They were quite a bit more money than Specialized a couple years ago, but you never know what comes up at end of year.

  7. #7
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    Anyone know offhand which spec gives the bike that slack laid back feel? Is it chainstay, head angle, both, or something else? Top tube length might be a factor?

    Don't want to spin my wheels analyzing geometry to wind up focused on the wrong thing.

  8. #8
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    It's all three. The taro/honzo has a longer top tube/reach measurement, a slacker head angle than most, and nice short chainstays.

    First, I don't know why anybody would suggest the stache. It's chainstays are an inch longer than the Taro's, which is going to change up the handling regardless of the rest of the measurements.

    Comparible bikes to the taro are the Honzo, the Yelli Screamy and Nimble 9 from Canfield, the Airborne Goblin Evo, the Banshee Paradox, the Transition transam 29, the Diamondback Mason, the On One Fireline/whatever (if you're very short)...and a few others still.

    The taro is a great bike because it shares the geometry that made the honzo famous, but shaves 2 lbs off its frame weight. It's let down because it has a QR dropout, and for some reason they speced a 20mm fork. Neither of those things would be bad in isolation, but now that virtually every other bike uses a 15mm front and 12x142mm rear axle, it's a bit of a let down to not be able to swap. You might be able to find last year's or wait a bit and get this years at a discount. It's a brilliant price point that you won't be able to beat unless you go used...which may not be a bad idea.

  9. #9
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    Thanks a lot, sandwich, that helps trememdously! Definitely looking around used, but you know how it is trying to find gently used late model stuff at a deep enough discount to be worth the gamble... even more so with a less common style of bike.

    The Mason looks like a possible mass market alternative.

  10. #10
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    Honestly, the paradox might be the cheapest option. Banshee Paradox For Sale It's one of the oldest, so many people have moved on, but it still features short stays and a slacker head angle than most. The mason isn't a bad one- the new frameset alone is only like 850, and completes range from like 1500-2500.

    As far as used stuff goes, I've bought and sold probably over $20k worth of bike related stuff. The only problems I've ever encountered were a hop in a wheel that I sold to somebody else but didn't notice (sorry!), and a frame I bought from a friend of a friend that turned out to be cracked, which he burned me pretty badly on. Most bikers are pretty cool dudes and most bikes hold up pretty well. Most pinkbike rats won't touch a 29er, so you're safe!

  11. #11
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    New question here.

    Update - not sure I really want HT after a recent review of where I ride. Went shopping at Trek for giggles after a couple pints, and came away convinced - the Trek is too damn high.

    Have posted here and in "suspension" re: the feel of a HT vs my locked-out FS, and asked at the Trek store, have yet to get any coherent response... may very well be a HT is just not in the cards for where and how I ride.

    But I still want another bike. My wife doesn't ride (so a tandem is out), I strongly believe that roadbiking is for the suicidal. What to do, what to do... maybe I should buy that beater Miata after all...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyle242gt View Post
    Update - not sure I really want HT after a recent review of where I ride. Went shopping at Trek for giggles after a couple pints, and came away convinced - the Trek is too damn high.

    Have posted here and in "suspension" re: the feel of a HT vs my locked-out FS, and asked at the Trek store, have yet to get any coherent response... may very well be a HT is just not in the cards for where and how I ride.

    But I still want another bike. My wife doesn't ride (so a tandem is out), I strongly believe that roadbiking is for the suicidal. What to do, what to do... maybe I should buy that beater Miata after all...
    If you already have a full suspension, there is no need for another similar one.
    If you don't want a hardtail (don't see why not), don't buy another bike, unless you sell the Camber as well.
    Transition Trans-Am 29, Diamondback Mason, Kona Honzo are all good all-mountain hardtails, but if you want to have just a "ride around" bike, the Salsa El Mariachi is a great choice.
    2013 Trek Cobia- 29er
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    1994 Cannondale R300- narrow tire roadie

  13. #13
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    Thanks a lot for the feedback. Another 13mi, 1800' today, and I again think I must be nuts... My Camber does everything with ease and comfort. Chickened out on my plan to dust off my old HT for a ride with the kids today, and even puttering around the park, it's hard to wrap my brain around why I'd want anything else.

    I'll likely keep browsing, maybe get a Taro/Honzo/Mason (all available locally) at end of year closeout if the stars align.

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