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  1. #1
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    $1500ish to spend, what to buy?

    I keep running in circles.... I started out looking at hardtails and now I have realized that a FS is really what I'll need for the stuff i want to ride (MIND CHANGED, BACK TO A HARDTAIL...AGAIN). Our local ski hill has been expanding their Gravity Trails as well as many around my area and a IMBA Gold Class Ride Center (Duluth, MN) just an hour away.

    I've been out of the bike game for 4 years and used to just ride single track on a Trek 4300. It "worked." I'm a big guy at 6'3" and 290 (biking is a new weight loss plan.) I won't be doing any crazy jumps or drops, but will have some rocky/stumpy trails.

    My wish list is pretty simple....

    1x drivetrain with NX/Deore or better
    Air front
    27.5+
    Hydraulic Disks
    Something I won't feel the need to upgrade right away.


    So far I have looked at a ton of bikes and i'm just going in circles now.... Where would you go? Any other Recommendations?

    I've looked at the following...
    Marin Hawk Hill/Rift Zone
    Fezzari Wiki Peak
    Diamondback Atroz 3
    GT Verb Expert
    Motobecane Hal5
    Last edited by TimberJay; 2 Weeks Ago at 05:29 PM.

  2. #2
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    I just picked up a Hawk hill and love it. I was able to pick it up from a LBS for 1300 out the door which leaves some room for upgrades in the near future. While it doesnt have the rear lock out, I doubt you would use it much anyway.

  3. #3
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    A used Kona Process 153 or 134 XL
    1983 Ritchey Everest
    1996 Bianchi Mega Tube ti
    1996 Ibis Mojo Ti
    2012 Ibis Mojo HD
    2015 Kona Process 153

  4. #4
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    Ebay...find a decent one..i'll sell you my bike if you want for $1600 this is what i have? plus shipping... https://www.specialized.com/us/en/camber-evo-29/p/65481 you'll need n xl..no good for you...i just checked..

  5. #5
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    Many of todays bikes are good climbers even with 150mm of travel so that's what I was looking for. I chose 27.5 X 2.5 (not a '+' size) running tubeless which provides great traction but more maneuverability with XL frame size than I would with 29" or '+' size tires. If I was doing faster, less tight terrain I would consider 29. I buy direct vs bikeshop and recent 2018 Kona 153 Process AL/DL is most expensive bike I've ever had (paid $2300...list $3600).

    Don't overlook the geo of new bikes which is totally different...slacker front is great for technical rockgardens and super fun on downhills. Provides more confidence and less worry of boinking and going OTB into a pile of rocks.

    1X drivetrain is awesome but I'm not a GX12 Eagle lover due to repeated reliability issues. Cage hangs very low and is prone to picking up debris which trashes cage assy. I don't need 12spd so I'm moving to 1X11 shimano when my next Eagle derailleur fails.

    Lots of choices...check Clyde section. Many big guys share what works for them.
    12 Santa Cruz Heckler
    18 Kona Process 153 AL/DL (27.5)...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by motox54 View Post
    I just picked up a Hawk hill and love it. I was able to pick it up from a LBS for 1300 out the door which leaves some room for upgrades in the near future. While it doesnt have the rear lock out, I doubt you would use it much anyway.
    I went and rode a Large 18' Hawk Hill 1 again today around teh parking lot and in a back little dirt lot the LBS has. I think it's going to be the one..... But i have to find an XL, they may have found one otherwise ill have to reevaluate for a 19.

    Quote Originally Posted by sturge View Post
    Many of todays bikes are good climbers even with 150mm of travel so that's what I was looking for. I chose 27.5 X 2.5 (not a '+' size) running tubeless which provides great traction but more maneuverability with XL frame size than I would with 29" or '+' size tires. If I was doing faster, less tight terrain I would consider 29. I buy direct vs bikeshop and recent 2018 Kona 153 Process AL/DL is most expensive bike I've ever had (paid $2300...list $3600).

    Don't overlook the geo of new bikes which is totally different...slacker front is great for technical rockgardens and super fun on downhills. Provides more confidence and less worry of boinking and going OTB into a pile of rocks.

    1X drivetrain is awesome but I'm not a GX12 Eagle lover due to repeated reliability issues. Cage hangs very low and is prone to picking up debris which trashes cage assy. I don't need 12spd so I'm moving to 1X11 shimano when my next Eagle derailleur fails.

    Lots of choices...check Clyde section. Many big guys share what works for them.
    I've poked around the Clyde section, going to go to Duluth tomorrow and take a look at a few other but i think the HH is going to be the one. Used is just hard to find around me unless i buy online.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sturge View Post
    M

    1X drivetrain is awesome but I'm not a GX12 Eagle lover due to repeated reliability issues. Cage hangs very low and is prone to picking up debris which trashes cage assy. I don't need 12spd so I'm moving to 1X11 shimano when my next Eagle derailleur fails.

    .
    Good choice. I can't understand how almost all new complete bikes come with SRAM 12 spd. Compared to Shimano 1X11, it's practically useless. One tiny little rock strike, and that derailleur is done. Actually, I'm convinced it doesn't even take an actual strike, if a rock merely looks at it wrong it will self destruct. But here we are, with many $9K dollar Enduro type bikes rocking a dainty little derailleur that cannot stand up to actual aggressive riding.

    Throw on Shimano 1X11 with 11-46 Cassette, and life will be good. You'll be so happy, which in turn will make your wife really happy to see you so happy. And when the wife is happy, everyone is happy.

    Keep with SRAM 1X12, and life will be bad. You'll be so sad, which in turn will make your wife sad to see you so sad. Then she'll leave you, and pretty much clean you out in process. You'll be a broken man, with nothing left to show but a broken derailleur. But, at least you'll still have an overpriced SRAM cassette that you can sit and look at.

  8. #8
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    I love my HH1. I'm 5'10" 165 lbs and ride a Medium. The 29ers that I've ridden (Giant Trance, Rift Zone, Specialized Camber) are all great bikes but they all feel big for me - but may scale well to a taller person.

    Have you ridden a Rift Zone? I think it's about $50-100 more than the HH1 but it might be the ticket. It is basically the exact same bike with 29" wheels.

    Otherwise the HH1 is a great choice and there are some compelling deals out there on '18s now.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cot-Rodger View Post
    Good choice. I can't understand how almost all new complete bikes come with SRAM 12 spd.

    Keep with SRAM 1X12, and life will be bad.
    What planet do you live on? I can understand a little fanboi thing going on but that's pretty extreme. Myself and many other people are running Eagle drivetrains and haven't destroyed a derailleur yet. In fact, the only derailleur I have managed to break is a Shimano SLX on an 11-46 setup. That being the case maybe I should go and blast Shimano shifters and constantly breaking.

    For real though, I have both setups (SLX 11sp, XT 11 speed and GX Eagle 12 speed) and both are just fine as long as I maintain them and don't smash the derailleurs against rocks. The SRAM derailleur is no more prone to rock strikes than is the long cage Shimano derailleur. OP: Don't let drivetrain choice be the deciding factor on which bike to get.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by motox54 View Post
    I just picked up a Hawk hill and love it. I was able to pick it up from a LBS for 1300 out the door which leaves some room for upgrades in the near future. While it doesnt have the rear lock out, I doubt you would use it much anyway.
    Quote Originally Posted by dbf909 View Post
    I love my HH1. I'm 5'10" 165 lbs and ride a Medium. The 29ers that I've ridden (Giant Trance, Rift Zone, Specialized Camber) are all great bikes but they all feel big for me - but may scale well to a taller person.

    Have you ridden a Rift Zone? I think it's about $50-100 more than the HH1 but it might be the ticket. It is basically the exact same bike with 29" wheels.

    Otherwise the HH1 is a great choice and there are some compelling deals out there on '18s now.
    I really wanted to try a Rift Zone but nodody local to me has them. I think it would scale up well, but i really dont think im going to be giving anything up with the 27.5. It'll be a little more nimble and im not racing or doing anything crazy. A lot of Gravity trails are popping up and i think id rather have the nimblenedd on turns and stronger wheels than a little more rolling momentum

  11. #11
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    Yeah, Rift Zones are scarce around here too. There are a few small Marin dealers here besides Performance. I think they pretty much sell them as soon as they arrive in the store and are built - most never even make it to the floor.

    The Hawk Hills are selling pretty well here too but at least there are a few out there in shops to demo. I got mine back in April and the dealer I bought it from had one '18 medium in the box stashed in the far back of the store. It was the only medium I could find anywhere in the area at the time.

    I think you will be very happy with the HH1. I love mine. I've ridden it 2-3 times a week for the last 4 months or so. I expect it to hold up well for the next few years at that rate - it seems pretty solid.

    I just had the guy I bought it from true up and re-balance the spokes on both front and rear. The wheels weren't out of true by much at all (mostly just settling and a couple of minor crashes) but he went ahead and made sure that everything was tight and straight. He re-packed the bearings too - I usually do that sort of maintenance but he offered to do it for $15 so I let him.
    Last edited by dbf909; 3 Weeks Ago at 08:59 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by PUGlife View Post
    What planet do you live on? I can understand a little fanboi thing going on but that's pretty extreme. Myself and many other people are running Eagle drivetrains and haven't destroyed a derailleur yet. In fact, the only derailleur I have managed to break is a Shimano SLX on an 11-46 setup. That being the case maybe I should go and blast Shimano shifters and constantly breaking.

    For real though, I have both setups (SLX 11sp, XT 11 speed and GX Eagle 12 speed) and both are just fine as long as I maintain them and don't smash the derailleurs against rocks. The SRAM derailleur is no more prone to rock strikes than is the long cage Shimano derailleur. OP: Don't let drivetrain choice be the deciding factor on which bike to get.
    For me it's not a fan-boi thing it's real life experiences. I realize there are many happy GX12 Eagle users out there but where I ride they are NOT reliable and I am not interested in continuing to replace derailleurs at $110 a pop. I have had 10-15 instances where debris gets pulled in and the cage gets yanked into my spokes. All local shops have many people coming in with twisted cages because they are very susceptible to picking up debris and twisting cages. It's not about cracking them against rocks, it's the nature of the trails we ride around here that have debris and it easily gets sucked up into the cage.

    I love how the Eagle shifts but it's not a reliable setup for where I ride. 30 years of experience and never had these issues prior to 'dinnerplate' 10-50 cassette that requires giant long cage derailleur hanging low.
    12 Santa Cruz Heckler
    18 Kona Process 153 AL/DL (27.5)...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sturge View Post
    I love how the Eagle shifts but it's not a reliable setup for where I ride. 30 years of experience and never had these issues prior to 'dinnerplate' 10-50 cassette that requires giant long cage derailleur hanging low.
    Okay, that's fair. I would argue however that the long cage Shimano derailleur still hangs down just as far and an 11-46t cassette is very nearly just as large. I can't see why you wouldn't also have issues with those.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by PUGlife View Post
    Okay, that's fair. I would argue however that the long cage Shimano derailleur still hangs down just as far and an 11-46t cassette is very nearly just as large. I can't see why you wouldn't also have issues with those.
    I use Med cage with 46T cassette. Regardless, I have found as have many others who live and ride in extremely rocky areas, that Shimano derailleurs can take rock strikes. Lots of them. With SRAM derailleurs, I found the exact opposite to be true.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimberJay View Post
    I've poked around the Clyde section, going to go to Duluth tomorrow and take a look at a few other but i think the HH is going to be the one. Used is just hard to find around me unless i buy online.
    Good luck...I feel your pain!

    One of the joys of needing XL frames (or bigger) is that most shops don't have many bikes that size to try out. People don't consider that us tall freaks are limited regarding 'try before buy'...it's usually not an option. I do all my own setup/mntc anyway so I'm good with buying direct and tweaking as needed.

    Another joy... 2018 Kona I bought, the fork steerer tube comes pre-cut which took away the option of adding more spacers under stem to raise bars. With my 36" inseam the desired seat height is much higher than the bars putting too much weight on hands/wrists. Ended up buying Renthal Fatbars with 40mm rise which is perfect.
    12 Santa Cruz Heckler
    18 Kona Process 153 AL/DL (27.5)...

  16. #16
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    A new design Stumpjumper is 1850 list with about the same specs as a Rift Zone. The new geo is worth the dif, imo. You can negotiate with a manager.
    https://www.specialized.com/us/en/me...=253567-154985

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sturge View Post
    Good luck...I feel your pain!

    One of the joys of needing XL frames (or bigger) is that most shops don't have many bikes that size to try out. People don't consider that us tall freaks are limited regarding 'try before buy'...it's usually not an option. I do all my own setup/mntc anyway so I'm good with buying direct and tweaking as needed.

    Another joy... 2018 Kona I bought, the fork steerer tube comes pre-cut which took away the option of adding more spacers under stem to raise bars. With my 36" inseam the desired seat height is much higher than the bars putting too much weight on hands/wrists. Ended up buying Renthal Fatbars with 40mm rise which is perfect.
    I every shop i went to Today (6 total) was out of XL frames. They said that last month there was a surge of tall riders and they all sold, really weird.

    I tried a L frame 27.5+ HT just for fun on a little park trail and i am back to considering a HT. You get so much more for the money...

    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    A new design Stumpjumper is 1850 list with about the same specs as a Rift Zone. The new geo is worth the dif, imo. You can negotiate with a manager.
    https://www.specialized.com/us/en/me...=253567-154985
    I went through the new dealer book with a guy at one of the shops and saw that, i think I’d like to stay in the 27.5/+ just from a Wheel strength perspective. He said they’d have them later this fall. I may just rent/borrow for now or find something that i can “make due” on for a couple months.

  18. #18
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    Wrench in question..... I dont plan on hitting any huge drops/jumps etc. Just some small stuff as im pretty much a beginner all over again. Would I be giving up a lot by going to a 27.5+ HT?

  19. #19
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    OR, my uncle is way into road bikes and has built a few rigids... Can i BUILD a better bike for 1500?

  20. #20
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    No, you would be fine on a hardtail. I've started on a hardtail and been riding a few different ones for the last couple years. I've had my 27.5+ hardtail on bikepacking trips, fast trail rides, and even a lift served downhill park. It's not quite as fast as full suspension bikes when things are really gnarly but for 90% of my riding (which is single track parks) I can easily hang with the full suspension guys and hit all the same jumps. Just takes a little more work.

    YES! You will get so much more bike for $1500 with a hardtail than you will with a full suspension bike. I would recommend a Surly Karate Monkey or Marin Pine Mountain for your money but most modern hardtails with 27.5+ tires, 1x drivetrain, good brakes, and a 69* or slacker head tube angle will be an absolute riot on the trail.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by motox54 View Post
    I just picked up a Hawk hill and love it. I was able to pick it up from a LBS for 1300 out the door which leaves some room for upgrades in the near future. While it doesnt have the rear lock out, I doubt you would use it much anyway.
    Quote Originally Posted by PUGlife View Post
    No, you would be fine on a hardtail. I've started on a hardtail and been riding a few different ones for the last couple years. I've had my 27.5+ hardtail on bikepacking trips, fast trail rides, and even a lift served downhill park. It's not quite as fast as full suspension bikes when things are really gnarly but for 90% of my riding (which is single track parks) I can easily hang with the full suspension guys and hit all the same jumps. Just takes a little more work.

    YES! You will get so much more bike for $1500 with a hardtail than you will with a full suspension bike. I would recommend a Surly Karate Monkey or Marin Pine Mountain for your money but most modern hardtails with 27.5+ tires, 1x drivetrain, good brakes, and a 69* or slacker head tube angle will be an absolute riot on the trail.
    I've been eyeing up the Commencal Meta HT Essentials with the Yari fork, level brakes, and NX. from what I've read it should fit my needs well.

    Also looking at the Timberjack GX, Nuke Proof Scout 275 Comp, and 2019 Specialized Fuze Comp.

  22. #22
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    The Timberjack is definitely an excellent choice that I forgot to add in.

    I just re-read your first post and noticed that 27.5+ was one of your requirements. My experience has been that that tire choice is an excellent one if you are planning on going the route of a hardtail. On the other hand if you end up going with full suspension definitely just go 29er regular tires. 27.5+ has its place on a hardtail so you have a little bit of squish in the rear but on a full suspension bike you only get the downsides of plus tires: heavy rubber, less efficient, limited tire choices, and lack of grip in the wet. That's coming from a hardcore plus hardtail guy but you gotta know your tires limitations.

  23. #23
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    Ordered a Salsa Timberjack GX1 in XL from REI today! I also ordered the BrandX Ascend Dropper from Chain reaction cycles and will be getting some Raceface Chester Pedals (What color should I get?)

    Need to find a good waterbottle holder, get my Oh S#it bag together and I should be good to go!

  24. #24
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    I love my marin B17. Riding a 27.5+ full suspension is like riding a lazyboy chair down the trail. Destroys anything in its path. Not fast uphill....compared to a hardtail or xc bike....but i am not racing. Although the nobby nic’s are not the greatest tire for where i ride.....looking for rekons or rocket rons or similar.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimberJay View Post
    Ordered a Salsa Timberjack GX1 in XL from REI today! I also ordered the BrandX Ascend Dropper from Chain reaction cycles and will be getting some Raceface Chester Pedals (What color should I get?)

    Need to find a good waterbottle holder, get my Oh S#it bag together and I should be good to go!
    Yay, congrats on being in the Timberjack club! I went with black chesters on my bike.

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