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.
mtn. biking 101
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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    2011 Rockhoper vs 2011 Focus Highland Peak

    Newb, looking for a good entry bike...

    Mostly easy to moderate single track stuff at first. I live in Santa Barbara, CA.

    I think I can still get one of the Focus Highland Peaks that is on clearance at jenson:
    Focus Highland Peak Bike 2011 > Complete Bikes > Cross-Country Mountain Bikes | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    but I also have the option to get a used 2011 Specialized Rockhopper for $280. It is like new with 20 miles on it. Would it be the better bike, or are they pretty similar and I should just go for the new Focus? Is $280 fair for the rockhopper? I don't think I can get him any lower.

    Thanks for the help!

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    There were several Rockhoppers in 2011. Can you be more specific?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
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  4. #4
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    It's not a screaming deal, but I like it better than the Focus bike. I think it would be hard to do better at price.

    The Focus isn't really geared for mountain biking and the brakes aren't the most popular type. So it would be annoying to mountain bike on, annoying to maintain, and really expensive to acquire upgradeitis with.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  5. #5
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    That makes sense. I'll see tomorrow if he is willing to meet in the middle, $265.

    Being my first bike, I'm definitely trying to stay on the lower range, and I'm not sure if I can get too much more for ~$265. I could go for an older, yet higher end bike in that range, but I'd rather stick with something fairly new and pristine as it's my first bike and I don't want it to be much hassle.

  6. #6
    The Fastest of Bananas
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    Rockhopper for sure. Disc brakes are good to have.

    I agree though, go older, and higher end. Bikes, IMO, age pretty well. I would rather spend 250 on a 10 year old bike that a 3 year old bike. More quality for less money.

  7. #7
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    I agree with what FastBanana saying about the more quality for less money with the used bikes.

    As long as it's in decent condition, I'd get the Rockhopper.

    Is the Highland Peak still even available from Jenson? It says it's out of stock online but it sounds like you may have another lead?

    The Highland Peak has pretty decent reviews from people that bought it for that price. With them mostly saying that they're happy with their purchase, taking price into account.

    When someone told me about this sale, I originally didn't believe the MSRP because of the v brakes. But then saw some Treks about the same price with v brakes as well. So was kind of regretting not jumping on the deal for the Focus.

    But if I had a chance to get a relatively new Rockhopper for around the same price, I'd go for the Rockhopper mainly because of it's well known name.

    With the Focus, you'd also have to deal with assembling it. Not sure how big of a deal that is to you.

  8. #8
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    Yeah, sounds like the rockhopper might be a little more for the money if it is in perfect condition (which he says it is).

    I'd be okay getting an older and higher end model, but that's harder for me to figure out, as I don't enough about the parts yet.

    I found this, which seems like a great deal, but it's certainly been ridden, and it's hard for me to gauge if there are any problems:

    Specialized Stumpjumper Comp 17" frame, Hard tail

  9. #9
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    It makes it harder that the seller of the Stumpjumper has made up alternate names for everything. For reference, my shop charges $70 to service a suspension fork, plus whatever the parts cost. That and the drivetrain ate your two big concerns - people often destroy drivetrains through ignorance and neglect. That's a little easier to evaluate. Search "Sheldon brown chain wear" and bring a ruler. If a bike rides and shifts okay and the chain measures okay, the drivetrains fine. With the fork, it could be anything from normal oil migration to real damage, though my guess would be blown (replaceable) seals. If the Stumpjumper doesn't turn out to be trashed, it's the best bike and deal so far.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
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    Here is another option. Not sure on the exact model and year, looks like Series 6000, maybe 2008? Though it appears to have Juicy brakes. Looks pretty prestine.

    Trek 6 series Mt Bike


    I know the stumphumper is better, but how would the trek compare to the rockhopper? Thanks!

  11. #11
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Less crappy fork.

    Check out bikepedia.com for specs, MSRPs and side-by-side comparisons of components.

    "6-series" is a rebranding of "6000," "6500," etc. They're basically the same bikes, just more recent. So it can help you date the bike, but doesn't really mean anything else.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  12. #12
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Also, the Trek's seen some ride time. There are scuff marks on the crank and the person had it long enough to put on an ugly sticker and then damage said sticker. Slightly odd pedals - they probably bought them in order to sell the bike, because those reflectors do not stay on when bikes get ridden.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    Yeah, he said he bought it from his friend... so kind of stinks that he doesn't know everything that has been done to/with it. It certainly has been ridden, but wear seems pretty minimal... at least from the pics. The components seem a tad nicer than the RH, and I think I could get him down to $250.

    Though it's also been tinkered with as juicy brakes are not stock, nor is a raceface crossbar (at least i don't think it is). Nice not having to worry about as much with the RH, as it is near new.

  14. #14
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    People love to throw money at making new bikes theirs. I'm really no better - I got a shiny new bike this summer and have swapped the stem; probably I'll stick different tires on it whenever my next team order happens. And pedals, of course.

    What this stuff does to the resale value of a bike is debatable. A lot of the time, it really doesn't change it. For example, the stem I swapped on is, if anything, a little cheaper than the one that was on there. But they really just do a job. Something like a switch to name-brand hydraulic disc brakes or a real fork would be a more legitimate upgrade. So it makes it hard to come to a fair value on used bikes that have been worked on. I'd say that the brakes are dependent on what was on there on the original spec - a bump over mechanicals, Vs, or Tektro hydraulics, not really an improvement over another name-brand hydraulic.

    Condition is king with used. Ride the bike, check the shifting and chain wear, and if you like it, buy it. This is a beautiful time of year to ride, though I guess you guys don't really have an off-season. Anyway, the days you miss pontificating on which bike, you'll never get back.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  15. #15
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    I just got one of those highland peaks a few days ago. It looks and feels like a quality bike to me but I am no expert. Its definitely an upgrade to my 15 year old specialized hardrock. I have yet to ride it anywhere but around the block but everything feels solid and it shifts much better than the specialized grip shifters. Im not sure you could buy a better bike brand new for $250.

  16. #16
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    Thanks guys for your help. The stumpjumper sold, and the the Trek 6000 accepted $200, so I went with it. I was hoping for something a little newer, but the Trek ended up being in good condition, plus it actually had better components than the newer rockhoppers. Just took it to my LBR and they said it didn't need any adjustment or tune-up. Even better is they had upgraded some things, like Juicy 7 brakes. Now to ride.

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