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  1. #1
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    All Mountian FS Under $1,500

    Hello fellow MTBR's

    I've been hitting the trails and the urban trails hard on my Schwinn Supermatic for about 6 months now. Basically the equalivent of running a flat track bike in a supercross series. I've spent the last five years tearing up the trails on quads and I've been racing the last two years (XC.) Since racing in any form really requires you to be in shape and very in tune with your body, I figured a great way to help get that form would be mountain biking. Also its a lot more fun than running for five miles and hitting the gym, even though i enjoy both of those to an extent.

    But anyway, instead of rambling on, I'm looking for an all mountain, FS bike under or close to $1,500. Research has showed me that its not as simple as looking into the pro's and con's of five brands of 450cc atv's. There are a TON of different bikes with a TON of different componants out there and i just don't know enough to make a firm decision on whats the best bang for my buck. I've looked into specialized, giant, gt, kona, and a couple others and i just can't decide. I saw some really nice looking fuji and felt's as well but i haven't seen their name dropped all that much so i dont know what to think of them.

    My style isn't specific, i do a little bit of everything. I love going big on dirt jumps and having the smooth landing on the other side, I love to fly through tight trails, fear for my life on crazy downhills, and tear up the streets jumping anything with a lip, or jumping off anything with a drop. I also do a little bit of communting to and from some places, so I figured all mountain was for me.

    I've been a part of many forums and tend to stay and become a regular member and i know how annoying posts like these can be, but any reach i've done is all from '05 and the bikes they refer to arn't even in production anymore.

    Any help would....well...help. I also don't know jack about sizing a bike and the only local bike shop is a trek dealer which im not too fond of. So if I can't test ride a bunch of bikes (which is not a good way to go about it, I know) how would I order one to my liking? are there any formula's?

    THANKS!!!!

    Also, if theres any FL people on here hit me up with some riding locations and we'll do some riding!!! as soon as I get a bike that is. My racing buddies all have cannondales and live 6 hrs away and i don't feel like driving that far.

  2. #2
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    you can get sized on a trek (try to remember the geometries and sizing), find different things you like / don't like about the bikes in there, then shop around for different deals fitting your preferences. (dons flame suit)
    at least pay them for their time and knowledge either by cash(or beer) on the spot or by buying some supplies at a later date to keep your karma in good shape
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  3. #3
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    right on, the guy that runs sales most of the time in my shop is real young so i hope he knows what he's doing, he seems to have a pretty good understanding about bikes...at least more than I do haha. thanks for the advice man.

  4. #4
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    $1500 for a new all mountain full suspension bike is going to be at the bottom of the totem pole. $1500 used will get you a solid bike. You may want to consider a hardtail all mountain bike. $1500 will get you a really nice hardtail. I can't give you any specific names for a $1500 hardtail, mine is only $850. Norco, Banshee, among others have good frames that you may want to check out.

  5. #5
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    Just hit all the bike shops you can and see what they have on clearance. I ride a jamis parker 2, and I love it for the FL riding. drop the seat for freeriding, raise it for xc. As of a month ago jamis had quite a few 08 parker 2's still at the distributers & they lowered the msrp to $1450. So you would have to go to a jamis dealer and get them to call jamis and see what they have left over. as for riding in fl hit the southeast forum. where are you located in fl? then I can give you some spots.
    Last edited by fastmxer99; 03-06-2009 at 07:17 PM.

  6. #6
    squish is good
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    I agree, go around to shops, test ride a bunch of bikes and figure out what kind of bike you want. Then look used. You can get a stellar bike for $1500 used, new it's gonna be tough to get into a decent component spec.
    Bike good, work bad.

  7. #7
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    I built my Yeti 575 for that - granted I bought a used frame & fork and re-used wheels and crank. So if your up for some for fun (read work) you can always build it up yourself.

  8. #8
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    I came from a similar background of motorsports. From my experience I was a suspension junkie from the get go, so my opinion builds from there. If i were to start now, knowing what I do now, I would go with the Giant Yukon. It is a pretty solid bike that is priced in your range that has suspension at both ends and will give you a good idea of what is out there. Be forewarned that once you put on a few miles and read a few forums you will be looking for upgrades but at least you will have a solid base to begin with. If you feel like mountain biking will be something you will stick with and are willing to take the risk that you are correct spend the money and go for something in the 2500 dollar range. The reigh is a much better design and can be had in this price range, as well as many others. The options at this price point are vast. I say go with the Yukon, get it dialed and go from there. You will learn what exactly it is that you are looking for and the next bike you choose can be a much more informed decision based on what you like about your first bike and what you would like it to do. JMTC

  9. #9
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    I agree with most of the good advice above..espcially on the Jamis recomendation.My last 2 bikes have Jamis' and out of all the other brands Ive owned.(Specilized,Trek,Giant) the Jamis' have always felt like they fit me the best. Also I think their a good "bang for ur buck" bike/company.

  10. #10
    cgrocho
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    Quote Originally Posted by agabriel
    I built my Yeti 575 for that - granted I bought a used frame & fork and re-used wheels and crank. So if your up for some for fun (read work) you can always build it up yourself.
    I agree on the build it yourself philosophy but of course not everyone has the expertise and tools for it. But it's not really difficult.

    I've gone through this exercise a few times, because I sometimes build up bikes for friends using similar budgets, and also because I'm obsessed with MTB. All new frame and parts is a challenge but it can be done if you're careful. At the moment I'd start with the BMC Trailfox at Jenson or the Sette Flite AM at Pricepoint and go from there.

  11. #11
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    for $1800 you should be able to get a Specialized Pitch Comp...its a GREAT bike for AM, and a good price, and good option to upgrade parts as you go!

  12. #12
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  13. #13
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    While there are 'issues' with Iron Horse the company right now, the bikes are still very hard to beat for the money. You could get a MKIII Comp for about $1400 or a 6point4 for about $1500. Both have excellent DW-link rear suspensions and a good parts mix for the price. Take your pick of the lighter 5" bike, or the burlier 6".

  14. #14
    wait...what?
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    I went around to bike shops and came across a giant trance 2 for $400 off (originally $1,300...It seemed a good AM for be cuz I'm pretty light...I can take it off of moderate sized jumps (who the hell would huck a trance??!!)and drops IN the trail, and it survives the rock gardens...Now that I'm getting into more performance and tearing it up more, I have upgraded to a pike and gonna buy a float r for the rear...as long as you upgrade as you go, you would be fine.

  15. #15
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    i was in the same boat as you, where i wanted all mountain, but ended up getting an 08 stumpjumper for 1650 total. its considered an xc, but gets the job done for me, i still go off jumps, over rocks and all kinds of stuff.....id reccomend checking out the specialized bikes...they got some good bikes for some great closeout prices right now....call around for a specialized dealer and ask them for 08 bikes.

  16. #16
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    I would have to agree that for $1500 you will get a lower end AM build if you go new. I would recommend used through craigslist or maybe even ebay. If you are set on new, I would highly recommend the IronHorse MKlll Comp. It comes in at under 30lbs has a decent run of components and I have logged some serious hours on a friends MKlll and I thought it was fantastic. I ride a $5000 AM bike and just sessioned his while mine was having some things re-done and it was amazing how well it did for the price. (keep in mind without a clearance price on that bike it is around $2700).

  17. #17
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    Used would be a great way to go because of price, for sure, but I would be worried that the thing would be seconds away from falling apart. Since I don't have a feel for how plush or stiff certain suspension would feel like, i'd be worried i'd by a **** bike and have to spend $600 replacing all the components. As far as a build goes, could i build a nicer bike than i could buy for around $1500? I know building a quad or dirtbike from the ground up is big bucks, so i don't know if its the same. Everyone, thanks for all the help, i have way way way way way too many hobbies and most places blow you off or joke around for fun, but all these responses are extremely helpful, so thanks!

  18. #18
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    Here is an option:
    http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/187...onarch-3.1.htm

    Building yourself (say Kona Dawg Deluxe frame from wheelworld at $600, RS Pike 454 from treefort, $460, wheelset (Hope Pro II, 5.1d) and drivetrain bits (SLX is the sweet spot) from chainreactioncycles will run you above $1.5K, but will yield you a very nice bike - better then what you can pick up off a shop floor for $2.5K upwards...

  19. #19
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    A build seems like the way to go then. What kind of tools do you need to put a bike together? I work on cars and four wheelers so I have a lot of tools to get the job done, so all I would really be lacking are any specialty tools I would imagine. One last question, how much does it normally cost to have the shocks resprung? one review of the RS pike 454 says it's sprung for a 130-160lbs rider and im a good 215 lol. So its something i'd face no matter if i bought new, used, or build it myself.

    Specialized and kona where the two brands I liked the most when I was searching sites so a $1,500 kona build that would be similar to at the very least a 2k bike would be awesome.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by buryurfear14
    A build seems like the way to go then. What kind of tools do you need to put a bike together? I work on cars and four wheelers so I have a lot of tools to get the job done, so all I would really be lacking are any specialty tools I would imagine. One last question, how much does it normally cost to have the shocks resprung? one review of the RS pike 454 says it's sprung for a 130-160lbs rider and im a good 215 lol. So its something i'd face no matter if i bought new, used, or build it myself.

    Specialized and kona where the two brands I liked the most when I was searching sites so a $1,500 kona build that would be similar to at the very least a 2k bike would be awesome.
    Starting from scratch, if you never have done it before, may be mildly challenging and time consuming. I think it is definitely worth your time to learn, but not sure if the first bike is the best opportunity.

    You can get a decent toolset from places like Nashbar, which would pay for itslef with just a few saved trips to a store.

    Operations that some people find challenging include pressing a headset, cutting and installing shifter housing, bleeding and/or adjusting brakes, truing wheels. None of that is really difficult, but it may take a bit to figure out. This place will offer you more advise then you care about.

    You can start looking around for components (I recently used wheelworld, treefort, chainreactioncycles and ebay), compile a parts list, post it here, and many folks would be glad to comment.

    I would suggest SLX drivetrain and brakes (XT where it makes sense, like cassette, chainreaction seems to have some of the best prices for Shimano stuff), the best frame that fits your budget (Kona's, Sette may be a decent start, too bad Iron Horse is dead), Pike/Revelation forks can be found for reasonable deals, or some take offs on Ebay..

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by cgrocho
    At the moment I'd start with the BMC Trailfox at Jenson or the Sette Flite AM at Pricepoint and go from there.
    I bought the $500 BMC Trailfox frame from Jenson... and I probably wouldn't do it again. It just doesn't work as an AM bike. Granted, I'm pretty much a newbie, but the 71-degree head angle just doesn't inspire confidence on downhill sections. At least not with the 130mm RockShox Revelation 426 that I'm using. The Ario 2.2 shock is also decidedly unimpressive.

    Let's face it: if these frames were really great, Jenson wouldn't still have them in stock at $500/ea. After demoing a Specialized Pitch Pro last weekend, I'm definitely re-thinking the Trailfox...

  22. #22
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    IH MK3, close out prices, ride it to death.
    Pitch, not sure if it's in your price range though.
    check out great video coverage of anything mtb (well almost).

    http://www.mtbcut.tv

  23. #23
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    I just picked up a Commencal Meta 666 on Chainlove.com for $1450 shipped. If you check them regularly, they have insane deals now and then.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel
    I bought the $500 BMC Trailfox frame from Jenson... and I probably wouldn't do it again. It just doesn't work as an AM bike. Granted, I'm pretty much a newbie, but the 71-degree head angle just doesn't inspire confidence on downhill sections. At least not with the 130mm RockShox Revelation 426 that I'm using. The Ario 2.2 shock is also decidedly unimpressive.

    Let's face it: if these frames were really great, Jenson wouldn't still have them in stock at $500/ea. After demoing a Specialized Pitch Pro last weekend, I'm definitely re-thinking the Trailfox...
    Good catch. I didn't know they were 71 deg... I would definitely rethink that one for AM.

  25. #25
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    I agree with the risk of buying a used bike and finding problems later with it. It all depends on whom you buy it from. You may want to talk with some of your local bike shops and see if any of the staff are selling their old bikes. If it is staff at a LBS you can be some what confident that they took care of their bike. As far as building a bike goes, it can be expensive. Keep your eyes peeled and check the big bike resailers and you are bound to find a "last year model" at a huge discount. That is what I did. Good luck!

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel
    I bought the $500 BMC Trailfox frame from Jenson... and I probably wouldn't do it again. It just doesn't work as an AM bike. Granted, I'm pretty much a newbie, but the 71-degree head angle just doesn't inspire confidence on downhill sections. At least not with the 130mm RockShox Revelation 426 that I'm using. The Ario 2.2 shock is also decidedly unimpressive.

    Let's face it: if these frames were really great, Jenson wouldn't still have them in stock at $500/ea. After demoing a Specialized Pitch Pro last weekend, I'm definitely re-thinking the Trailfox...
    Funny, the HA really worried me before buying the Trailfox, but I haven't really found it a problem at 130mm to be honest. And I'm coming from a hardtail with a 68.5 degree HA. Once I get a Pike I think I'm set. That would bring the HA a little below 70.The Ario definitely needs to be replaced though...Sorry it didn't work for you! I was skeptical at first, but this bike is growing on me. If I were made of money, I'd have gotten something else. The TFox definetely isn't for begginers. IMO if you're a begginer you should start with a HT, it's the only way to really learn to read trails and position yourself properly in sketchy sections. Lastly, If building from scratch, word of warning, don't go cheap on the cranks. At least ones with external bearings. After 2 rides I'm already getting play in my truvativ firex cranks...
    Last edited by Ouroboros; 03-16-2009 at 12:31 AM.

  27. #27
    squish is good
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    Quote Originally Posted by tinercom
    I just picked up a Commencal Meta 666 on Chainlove.com for $1450 shipped. If you check them regularly, they have insane deals now and then.
    That looks like a sick score. Let us know how it works out for you.
    Bike good, work bad.

  28. #28
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    08 Jamis Parker 1

  29. #29
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    I got a GT Sanction 3.0 for abour $1400 and love it!!... just my 2 cents...good luck bike hunting!!

  30. #30
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    http://www.rscycle.com/2008-Iron-Hor...category=27532
    http://www.rscycle.com/2008-Iron-Hor...category=27532

    Yeah, IH is gone, but most likely you can ride this thing into ground for many years...

  31. #31
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    IMO, there is no better deal than the Iron Horse MKIII Comp right now (follow the first link posted by Curmy). The horse may be, or may not be dead, but the MKIII Comp is still a great deal.

    NOTE: I have one, so my opinion is, obviously, biased.

  32. #32
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    I looked in this same range for a buddy.

    Yeah, that IH MKIII is a great deal, no doubt.
    The Commencal looks good too, but my buddy wanted something closer to $1k.

    Ended up on a used/upgrade Giant Reign (stock with crossmax xl wheels) for $1200.

  33. #33
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    I think im going to buy that MKIII, thats a really nice bike and an amazing deal...

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by buryurfear14
    I think im going to buy that MKIII, thats a really nice bike and an amazing deal...
    Just be sure to use a credit card that can protect/reimburse you if there are shipping delays etc.. Seems like they are liquidating the business. But the bike will be just fine. The absolutely worst case scenario would be you would break frame in a few years - and will just get something (like say Sette Flite, decent frame at $450) cheap and swap parts to it.

    I am yet to break a frame - and not like I did not try...

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by bryguy6631
    $1500 for a new all mountain full suspension bike is going to be at the bottom of the totem pole. $1500 used will get you a solid bike. You may want to consider a hardtail all mountain bike. $1500 will get you a really nice hardtail. I can't give you any specific names for a $1500 hardtail, mine is only $850. Norco, Banshee, among others have good frames that you may want to check out.

    Right On I
    am just finishing a jamis for myself that i put together for 1000 its got a real nice mix of parts. Banshee Morphine is a good one
    Keep on Ridin

  36. #36
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    get the Iron horse! Parts are a plenty right now.. I have an 06 mkiii and it rocks. Lots of high priced companied going wiht the dw link which iron horse has used for years. Poor mans ibis mojo = IH mkiii. Best 1400 you will spend!

  37. #37
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    it's ordered!! thanks for all the help everyone!! What else should i know before i hit the trails??

    -shoes?
    -helmets?
    -any other vital gear? I already have a camelback/back canteen

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clutchman83
    I agree, go around to shops, test ride a bunch of bikes and figure out what kind of bike you want. Then look used. You can get a stellar bike for $1500 used, new it's gonna be tough to get into a decent component spec.
    Bike shops just live for time wasters like you.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by buryurfear14
    -shoes?
    Start with regular flats (without sharp pins) and any shoes with stiff sole. No cages of any sort. Not sure what it will come with. If it is Smarty - they are crap - though the basic mechanism is as good as other eggbeaters.

    Then either move to clipless - Shimano for both the pedals (XT are good) and shoes is a safe bet and it seem to be easiest to learn to unclip for beginners. Or pinned flats - Wellgo MG-1 pedals off ebay is a good light choice, with shoes like Adidas Berm, or 5.10 bike shoes. If you ride pinned flats in a spirited fashion, wearing shinguards (I use cheap Nike soccer shinguards (tube sock and slip in pad) helps with avoiding busting your shins.

    Quote Originally Posted by buryurfear14
    -helmets?
    Sure. I would also suggest some "sport" sunglasses with no lower frame and maybe with replaceable lenses - including yellow and clear. Even with no sun out, things may get into your eyes. I usually ride with light yellow lenses on.

    Quote Originally Posted by buryurfear14
    -any other vital gear? I already have a camelback/back canteen
    Multitool for trail adjustments. I like Lezyne 20. Topeak, Park make good ones. Chain breaker on it may help. Carry a spare gold link if you have SRAM or KHS chain.

    Patch kit, tire levers, spare tube. Practice before using.

    Practice adjusting your derailleurs yourself. It is easy. Amazing how many people are afraid of touching it. I would also suggest practicing how to align your brake calipers and adjusting pad reach.

    It is does not come with a shock pump - get one, and figure out how to set shock and fork - and what rebound adjustments on them do for you. Improperly set sag can ruin the best suspension design.

    Clean and lube drive train regurarly. Get degreaser, take chain off to clean and lube it after a muddy ride. When drivetrain works like a clock, riding is more fun.

    Have fun and drop back to show off your ride.
    Last edited by Broccoli; 03-19-2009 at 07:51 PM.

  40. #40
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    I would use the bike as is, and get a good pair of shoes.If you need more of a platform pedal, go with the crankbrother acids. Unless you are downhilling, go with clipless. Flats are great but IMO they suck when climbing. I also would say you should get some pads(elbow and kness) if you plan on hitting technical trails, rollers and jumps. That bike shines on the techy stuff so go out and enjoy. Look for deals on the web for helmets and other necessary items. Pricepoint.com,jenson are a good start.

  41. #41
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    awesome, thanks for the advice. It comes with the smarty clipless pedals so i'll probably buy the shimano shoes first (so I can ride lol) then the shimano pedals. I'll take some action shots as soon as I get it! I'm stoked!

    Thanks for all the help again, you guys are awesome!
    Last edited by buryurfear14; 03-20-2009 at 05:05 AM.

  42. #42
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    You are going to love the DW-Link suspension, only found on much, much more expensive bikes now. You made a good choice and its a unique bike, not Specialized like everyone has. I have an Azure and I love it.

  43. #43
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    Sheesh! I made this thread a while ago and never responded back!

    Anyway, I love my MKIII comp! At first shifting and getting use to the high center of gravity (compared to my schwinn supermatic haha) was a bit tough but i'd say i'm pretty damn good on it now! The suspension is awesome, soaks up everything I throw at it and being 220lbs, thats impressive! The only thing i've noticed is the back wheel seems to work itself loose after I do some really hard riding. But it's only happened twice so i suppose it's not that big of a deal.

    So the bike was worth every penny and you all really helped out! No pic's because I normally ride alone. Not many people with my mtbk's that ride when I ride I guess.

    Don't know if anyone is from florida and has been to Santo's, but i've been there a couple times now and that place is awesome, I rode a couple of the expert trails my first time out thinking i'd have to turn around and walk them but my foot only hit the ground a few times...mostly do to being in the wrong gear though.

    Thanks again!

  44. #44
    the test dummy
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    jamis parker 1 $800 hears the link
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...Bike+2008.aspx
    can handle any thing i throw at it which are six foot drops jumps and some xc riding with tons of roots and rocks on the trail. awesome bike
    Quote Originally Posted by craftworks750
    Riding a mtb is like a reset button, 10 mins in and there is nothing else in the world that matters.
    my bikes
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    Ben

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luigiugueto
    08 Jamis Parker 1
    yep. do anything bike.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by vwcalbug
    for $1800 you should be able to get a Specialized Pitch Comp...its a GREAT bike for AM, and a good price, and good option to upgrade parts as you go!
    I've only test ridden this bike in parking lots so I can only go by what others say and I hear it's really sweet. Great time of year to snag close out deals! Hub Cycle Truro has a 2008 specialized pitch comp size med for $1500 Canadian. Scope out any local stores test em out and find yourself a nice winter deal.

    Other options if you have some bike component knowledge is look second hand, good deals to be had, just need to be patient.

    Another thought, there is some amazing hardtails out there for sub 1500.

    Good luck!

  47. #47
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    Didn't see that you already ordered it /doh
    congrats on the bike

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by byrdwyngs
    While there are 'issues' with Iron Horse the company right now, the bikes are still very hard to beat for the money. You could get a MKIII Comp for about $1400 or a 6point4 for about $1500. Both have excellent DW-link rear suspensions and a good parts mix for the price. Take your pick of the lighter 5" bike, or the burlier 6".
    i definitely agree, i got the 08 6 point back in july, and i absolutely love it. ive done 10 mile xc rides and 8-mile downhills with this bike and it works awesome. while the xc rides werent too much fun on a 38 pound bike and 2.5 downhill tires, the dw-link has great pedalling efficiency even with no propedal platform on the shock. and now u can get one of those for under $1500. rscycle.com but thats a reltively heavy bike and classified under "aggressive all mountain" so its more gravity oriented. on the other hand, for a little less u can get a MKIII thats just under 30 pounds which im sure would be way better for commuting but isnt built as burly as the 6 point and has got 5 inches of travel. so if u dont mind taking a little longer when commuting to have a bigger, burlier bike, id go for the 6 point. as for sizing, im 5'8 and i got the 19" frame (Large) which fits well, although the bike in general has a tall standover so keep that in mind.

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