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  1. #1
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    Sanity Check - About to buy a hardtail...

    Quick history - Bought myself an entry-level 29er last year to celebrate quitting smoking/turning 40. Didnt get out on the trails nearly as much as I intended, due to work and 2 young kids. I made it out to san-tan and south mountain a few times each, and loved it each time. I did, however, put in a bunch of road miles on that bike. So many, in fact, that after my first ride over 30mi I was convinced a road bike was for me and I sold my 29er to fund it.

    I now have a change in my work situation which will give me alot more freedom to get some biking in. Thus I am back to looking for a bit less entry level mountain bike. Right now, I am strongly leaning towards a 2013 Kona Kahuna. Its a 1200$ msrp HT, on-sale for about 1k out the door. We are talking a sram x5 bike, with decent hydros and a the first level of rockshox with rebound adjust.

    I was reading one of the other threads here and got the impression almost everyone was riding FS. With a growing family, dropping a grand on a toy for daddy is hard enough, but I don't want to make a mistake here and get something that will really limit what I can do in the local area.

    I intend to ride trails 2 times per week. I live in chandler, so San Tan and SoMo will be my main stomping grounds during the week.

    I pretty much grew up on bikes, and have felt pretty comfortable on all of my mountain biking adventures so far. Frankly the lack of endurance and the fear of falling over dead from 25 years of hard living are probably my biggest limiting factors.

    Anyways, how limiting would a bike like the Kahuna be for the stuff around Phoenix? Should I be looking for a FS bike? A higher spec hard-tail?

    I guess I am feeling like I need to hurry and buy a bike to get back out there and to take advantage of clearance prices, but don't want to rush into the decision and buy a bike that is going to limit me after 6 months or something. Also torn on 2x10 vs 3x9. THinking 3x9 will give me more/easier climbing and let me have some fun while my fitness develops.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    That is a good deal on that bike. I personally love Kona hardtails. I feel that they overbuild their bikes. And a 2x10 is designed to give you the same gear range as a 3x9 while eliminating some of the 'unused' gears in the middle. Just look at the amount of teeth on the crank as apposed to the 3x9. Usually the big on the 2 will have a few more than the middle on a 3, then the extra gear on the cassette makes up the difference.

    A hardtail really doesn't limit you. Granted I ride a full suspension, but that is just preference, not necessity. I think it's a good deal.
    “Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.”
-Grant Petersen

  3. #3
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    You can ride a hardtail on Somo and San tan no problem. While I am a fan of Kona, an aluminum frame will have a harsh ride on our rocky trails. You could either get a better seat post to help soften the ride or go to a larger volume tire, tubeless, in the rear, or both. Have you tried looking for a steel hard tail? Maybe try looking for a last years Honzo on sale? Or a slightly used one?

    Good luck. Don't rush into it, there is always a sale on bikes.
    If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains,
    you're lucky enough.

  4. #4
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    I almost always ride my hardtails at Somo, McDowells, and Pass Mnts. Riding high volume tires in a tubeless setup helps a lot to cut down on chatter and absorb hits. Check out the new Maxxis Ikon 2.35 for example. Also carbon bars, carbon seat post, or a dropper post with a little travel will also tame down some of the vibrations.
    " the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." C&H

  5. #5
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    Sanity Check - About to buy a hardtail...

    I have both a HT and FS--both 29ers--and ride the HT 90% of the time. I'm not an aggressive rider, but I feel more comfy on the HT. More responsive, and makes me pay attention. I have an Alum. Niner, and I agree go either steel or carbon if you can afford.
    Rarely adds anything productive to threads

  6. #6
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    Same here, I bought a kick ass 26 full suspension Pivot Mach 5.7 on ebay and felt very disconnected with the trail and also felt like riding in molasses with all that travel.

    I ride a 29 titanium HT with titanium post and tubeless set up. I ride pretty much everything on it in AZ. It took some time for me to get comfortable on the rocky trails like Deems - now I love it - picking lines, unweighing the bike, picking up the front wheel etc. basically good techniques help with riding over rough stuff. Sonoran preserve is made for HT, you could even ride it rigid.

    By all means get the HT, tubeless set up would helpful to take out the chatter, nice compliant post would help but really you should learn to ride out of your seat...

  7. #7
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    Honestly, if it came down to a nice hardtail or a meh full suspension, I'd take the HT. A meh full suspension does more harm than good, IMO. Outdated suspension designs or cheap components can really sap a lot of energy from your pedaling efforts.

    Just buy the best component group you can, and when it breaks, replace it with the next tier up.

  8. #8
    I am Bob
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    Consider putting together a Karate Monkey.
    Great price for a steel bike and you can do anything with it: single speed, suspension fork or not, geared, etc.
    The frame geometry is great for climbing chunk too, IMO, with the shortened chain stays and regular XC geometry otherwise.
    It will take longer to pit it together for the price of the Kahuna, due to having to find all the other parts, but it might end up being a better bike. I got the frame and fork recently from a local shop with a nice headset installed and tax for 475.
    However, the Kahuna will likely work great if you don't want to bother with bargin custom building via CL, ebay, etc.
    Let's see your KM builds

  9. #9
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    I love this forum, you guys rock!

  10. #10
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    On Kona's website they list the 2013 model as having deore components and a 3x10 setup. It sounds like, from this thread, that the bike you are looking at is SRAM x-5 2x10... is this correct? I would rather have a 3x10 setup for the wider gear range. Also, the nice thing about the Rockshox xc 32 tk is that you can buy an air spring for the recon forks and it will fit. Its a cheap $68 mode. I can't believe how expensive bikes have gotten in the past 3 years. Healthcare hasn't even gone up that much in comparison. This would have been an $850 bike 3 years ago. The price is good in today's market and it is a nice looking bike. For $400 more you can get a Diamondback Overdrive Pro from Jenson USA shipped and it comes with a mix of XT and SLX components and a Fox CTD fork.
    Killing it with close inspection.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireLikeIYA View Post
    I can't believe how expensive bikes have gotten in the past 3 years. Healthcare hasn't even gone up that much in comparison. This would have been an $850 bike 3 years ago. The price is good in today's market and it is a nice looking bike.
    Everything has gotten more expensive. Bikes, cars, food, anything. But, also, a bike today is nothing like a bike from five years ago. Brakes, suspension, derailleurs, anything, the technology available and the quality is awesome.

    Five years ago, if I said I wanted a rear derailleur with a clutch mechanism in it so I didn't get chain slap, I couldn't have one, regardless of price. Now, I can get it at the SLX level all day long for under $100. Today's SLX is way better than five years's ago XTR could ever dream of.

    Bikes cost a lot, but you get a lot too.

  12. #12
    livin' the dream......
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    Happy on my 29HT Stumpjumper. I have a carbon seat post, and run pretty low PSI on my tubeless set up and ride all over the PHX area with no issues.

  13. #13
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    I ride a 26in hardtail. It might limit my downhill speed on some trails, but I still ride all the trails I want.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  14. #14
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    I also have a stumpjumper ht, and a cannondale sl2 ht... both 29ers

    I find the cannondale a bit more comfortable on the chunk/technical... but the stumpjumper is a faster bike... Love them both...
    Below Par on the Gnar

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by azjonboy View Post
    While I am a fan of Kona, an aluminum frame will have a harsh ride on our rocky trails.
    This. If I were to buy a hardtail, it would be this one...
    On-One 456 Evo2 Shimano Deore Mountain Bike

    I had one, it was pretty bad ass for a hardtail...but hardtails aren't my style...
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you’ll crash.
    - Julie Furtado

  16. #16
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    Last edited by FireLikeIYA; 08-10-2013 at 06:54 PM.
    Killing it with close inspection.

  17. #17
    EDR
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    Re: Sanity Check - About to buy a hardtail...

    I think you'd be just fine with a really nice hard tail. Especially for out here. The trails are relatively short. The only time I saw a hardtail hold someone back was when we rode with my buddy's brother in Moab. Bombing down miles and miles and miles of Porcupine trail he could not keep up with us. He's a good rider but all that chatter and ledgey chunk over a very long stretch just left him way behind. We kept having to wait for him. But like I said out here the trails are much shorter. Yes there's plenty of rocky chatter but that should not hold you back once you get good at it.

    All that being said I still prefer a really nice full suspension over a really nice hard tail.

  18. #18
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    I love my on one inbread 29er

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by woahey View Post
    This. If I were to buy a hardtail, it would be this one...
    On-One 456 Evo2 Shimano Deore Mountain Bike

    I had one, it was pretty bad ass for a hardtail...but hardtails aren't my style...
    Except 1000 quid is $1550 US. Ouch.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireLikeIYA View Post
    On Kona's website they list the 2013 model as having deore components and a 3x10 setup. It sounds like, from this thread, that the bike you are looking at is SRAM x-5 2x10... is this correct?
    Actually that is the 2014 bike your looking at. The 2013 is full x5, 3x9, Elixer 1s. The 2014 gets full deore, but the price goes up another 100$ and no closeout pricing , so its almost 50% more after taxes.

    Great tip on the shock that will be one of the first things I look into!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eazy_E View Post
    Except 1000 quid is $1550 US. Ouch.
    The $1287 price is in USD. $1387 total shipped to the US.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you’ll crash.
    - Julie Furtado

  22. #22
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    Checked out the Rockhopper pro today. Liked it but concerned about the 28 fork vs 32. price quoted was 1080 vs 1300 retail. then of course I would be an idiot not to upgrade to the carve for only 300 more. But then I could probably be in a stumpjumper for another 300. Next thing you know its a carbon FS bike that costs more than my car. Frustrating!

    Im going to brew on the steel thing and try to check out a jamis in person on Monday.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride View Post

    All that being said I still prefer a really nice full suspension over a really nice hard tail.




    Not sure I could handle full suspension.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Sanity Check - About to buy a hardtail...-tumblr_mr652emcxb1ruz6zso1_500.jpg  


  24. #24
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    Specialized... you can buy better but you can't pay more.
    Killing it with close inspection.

  25. #25
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    Sanity Check - About to buy a hardtail...

    Just my 2cents here but if you get the chance, demo a FS and a HT on the same trail. I was in your shoes last year. Picked up a '13 stumpy HT. loved it at first, but my riding buddies noticed I was definitely slower on the descents and Techy climbs, and I noticed my confidence was a little lower on the HT as well when things got really bumpy. Fast forward 9 months later and I ended up selling the HT for a new stumpy FSR. LOVE this new bike!! I'm having more fun, and have a ton more confidence to clear things I wouldn't even try before on the HT.
    Now, EASY E mentioned a "meh" FS causes problems and that is very true, a "good" FS is gonna cost you more coin, no question about it. But, would you rather drop the extra coin now, or buy a HT and take a loss on it 6 months later when you sell it for a FS? This is why I think riding both is sooooo important, when you spend this kind of cash on something, it's important to be 100% sure you make the right choice. Heck, you may find you prefer a HT like so many on here do. For me personally, my skills aren't that great and that added cushion of a rear shock and overall travel makes up for some of my shortcomings, resulting in more fun on the trail. Again, just my personal opinion and experience. Good luck buddy, whatever you choose will be good since its getting you out on the trails!

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