1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    $1100 what to do

    So I have looked at and tested a few bikes locally and am more confused then before I started...I like the Scott Scale...I looked at a Diamondback Comp 29er...Trek and Specialized...the airborne bikes look sweet but have no local dealer.., I also have yet to check out a Kona....

    I guess im curious what suggestions you may have.., I used to race BMX so I want to race ...thinking cross country since I live in Michigan and have some good trails within a decent drive...

    I understand the feel and fit factor and being a 5'9" 180lbs guy the M frame bikes all felt good...budget is $1200 max...

    Any help? Ideas?

    Prefer new....wouldn't know what to look for used...lol

  2. #2
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    Since you have a bicycling background, you may not need as much hand-holding/support from the local bike shop, so this bike offers more bang for the buck on the actual bike:

    Airborne Bicycles. Goblin

    It would be more of a gamble since you can't ride it first, but the reward is there in how much bike you could end up with. You seem to have a pretty good handle on the type of bike you want and what size you'll need, so that somewhat minimizes the risk.

  3. #3
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    What specifically are you confused about?
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  4. #4
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    It seems like each manufacturer has there own component group...is there a big difference? Is it better to make sure you have certain parts at a higher end then others? Is a mediocure drive train easier to upgrade then a mediocure wheel set or suspension?

  5. #5
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    The house brand cockpits are pretty similar to one another. TBH, I wouldn't even consider them a point of comparison. You're likely to get rid of a couple of those parts pretty quickly anyway.

    Drivetrains are pretty easy to swap out piecemeal, as long as you maintain compatibility between the shifters and derailleurs - Shimano with Shimano and SRAM with SRAM. I think this stuff is pretty overrated most of the time - if you can't tune Deore or X5 to work well, you can't tune anything. IMHO.

    Wheels are popular but at best, I think they're just a less crappy place to spend your upgrade dollar. Tires are a kickass place to spend a little more, but they're relatively inexpensive and most bikes come with the wrong ones anyway. So not a great way to distinguish between bikes, but something to keep in the back of your mind when you test ride and when you're thinking about how to "faster" your bike. People often upgrade wheels and tires together, which is one of the great marketing successes of the cycling industry - if people thought of them more separately, a lot fewer wheelsets would get sold.

    Suspension is one of the places I admit to being a gear whore. Especially when it comes to racing. I think being able to tune my suspension correctly for myself is huge in terms of being able to ride smoothly, fast, and in control. XC races are won on climbs, but can be lost in singletrack and on descents. Besides, riding down hill is fun, more so with a well-behaved fork. An adjustable spring rate and rebound damper are musts, IMO. A compression damper is very nice to have. A lockout is overrated unless your races involve a lot of road climbs and you like to get out of the saddle or it also has an adjustable blowoff valve.

    If the frame is right for you, that Airborne won't give you any excuses when you race it. I was really glad I test-rode before buying my current bike. I ended up on a different size than I thought I'd want from the charts.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    I know you said you prefer new but... You can get way more for your money used. My last bike was new because I wanted something specific, but the two before that were used.

    I too live in MI. There is a great MI forum, with a very active classified section. I just scanned the first few posts to find a few interesting bikes:


    All three look to be in your range. These are only the ones I noticed scanning the last day or so of entries.

    If you are willing to consider used, I'd post in the classified section "WANTED: Bike for newbie $1000-1500" and see what you get offered. People will literally reply with that they will sell you - no obligation. It is the best way to see what is out there.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the info.I'm definitely looking to race at the trails in battle creek and yankee springs (Mi) I hope they have age and skill level groups...just excited...and a newbie...lol

  8. #8
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    I had planned to stick to a hardtail...for the reasons you just stated...I need to keep it simple...If im patient enough and I can get my BMX bike sold..well then I may expand my budget a few hundred...I have been looking on pinkbike and see some nice bikes at a retailer in Canada selling Jamis? Any idea on those bikes? Prices appear to be well under retail for new bikes

  9. #9
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    +1 on used. Bought a lot of used bikes in last few years, you just build in some budget for stuff that you didn't realize needs replacing.

    I have often said that buying a bike is harder than buying a car, there are so many options!

    My 2cents for what its worth, is that an upgraded wheelset is worth more than someone who put XTR drivetrain on their bike. Wheels make a huge difference. A lot of progress has been made in last 20 years with shifting and even mid range stuff should shift solidly and quickly. Its less costly to upgrade generally too than wheelsets.

  10. #10
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    Used and local would be first choice in that price range.
    You can save a ton of money and still be able to test ride before purchasing.
    Sinister Bikes
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  11. #11
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    If I can find a good used and local hardtail I would be open to that...I also just have this part of me that feels I should support my LBS...I know that's a crazy idea maybe because it would not "save" me as much, but the thought of losing these sacred places just gets me...I've never been a fan of the big box stores...I also like the idea of having the support (I love to ride/race...but I'm no mechanic...lol)

  12. #12
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    I do most of my shopping through my LBS. Granted, it's typically the one that supports my team. But I also shop at the one near me, now that I've moved away from the near one.

    You can get good deals on components online. Shoes and complete bikes are a little more difficult that way, IMO. Skip the box stores, they basically only sell really low-end stuff, and it will kill you on COO, or just the hit you take when you throw it out.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    This could be a good deal if its still around and it can probably be negotiated closer to $1000. Not sure how far it is from you though or what the size the frame is.

    2010 Felt Nine Race- Great Mountain Bike

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by WoodyBoy74 View Post
    If I can find a good used and local hardtail I would be open to that...I also just have this part of me that feels I should support my LBS...I know that's a crazy idea maybe because it would not "save" me as much, but the thought of losing these sacred places just gets me...I've never been a fan of the big box stores...I also like the idea of having the support (I love to ride/race...but I'm no mechanic...lol)
    Well WoodyBoy... What did you do?

  15. #15
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    Looks like Elvis has left the building ;~)

  16. #16
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  17. #17
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    Randombikeparts.com has a deal on the 2013 Marin Nail with Fox shock and XT/SLX components for $1179. I haven't ridden a Marin but it has some quality components at that price!

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  19. #19
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    In that sort of budget i guess you can get an appropriate Bike according to your choice and taste and what kind of Bikes you like and prefer riding this is what does matter the most.At the same time when it comes to buying a bike a test drive should definitely be arranged so you can actually take care of everything which bothers you or what suits you in terms of riding it Etc.

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