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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    2012 KHS Alite 150 vs 2006 Gary Fisher Wahoo

    I relatively new to mountain biking. I currently have a 2006 GF Wahoo that I picked up about a year ago. I have been riding pretty consistently on single track trails. It is the version with V-brakes and I wanted to upgrade to disc brakes. I am not sure that it is worth putting money into at this point. I have access to the actual disc break rotors and calipers but I will need to purchase a new rim set.

    Front Fork- RockShox J1
    Front derailleur - Shimano Acera
    Rear derailleur- Shimano Alivio
    Breaks- Tektro V-Brakes (Tektro 845AL brakes)

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    The other option I have is putting my money into a 2012 KHS alite 150 which comes complete with disc brakes. The forks seem to be comparable and front/rear derailer are a slight down grade. I can pick up this bike which has barely been ridden for $250.

    Fork- SR Suntour XCT V4 100mm
    Front Derailleur- Shimano Altus
    Rear Derailleur- Shimano Altus
    Brakes- Bengal Mechanical Disc

    2012 KHS Alite 150 vs 2006 Gary Fisher Wahoo-12-alite-150-blk.jpg

    I know both are still entry level. Is switching over to the KHS Alite 150 an upgrade at all from what I have been riding?

    I do ride in all conditions including everything from dry hard pack/rocky to the rainy days with mud and water. I found the v-brakes to be difficult in the wet weather. Not sure that low end disc brakes are going to do the trick either. Any thoughts or suggestions welcome!

  2. #2
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    Not really, the Components on the Gary Fisher are better than the KHS. Neither of the forks are great but the one on the Gary Fisher is still better. And if you still have good power on those V-brakes there is no point of disc brakes.

  3. #3
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    I don't see the Wahoo being worth putting any serious money in to.
    Not that it is a bad bike, but it is a 7 year old entry level bike.
    I found my friend one the same year but the disc model for $150 in perfect shape.
    It's cool but just not something I would put much money in.

    The KHS is not an upgrade either IMO. Sure it is newer and already has disc brakes but it is still a very entry level bike and that suntour XCT fork bounces like a pogo stick.

    Personally if it were me, I would keep riding what you are riding and save up some more money until you have enough cash to actually upgrade.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    I don't see the Wahoo being worth putting any serious money in to.
    Not that it is a bad bike, but it is a 7 year old entry level bike.
    I found my friend one the same year but the disc model for $150 in perfect shape.
    It's cool but just not something I would put much money in.

    The KHS is not an upgrade either IMO. Sure it is newer and already has disc brakes but it is still a very entry level bike and that suntour XCT fork bounces like a pogo stick.

    Personally if it were me, I would keep riding what you are riding and save up some more money until you have enough cash to actually upgrade.
    Exactly. Listen to this advice, it is spot on.

  5. #5
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    Thank you both for the advice. I am trying to figure out how much I need to go up before it would be considered a decent upgrade. I like the hardtail as I am not taking drops any higher than 3-4 ft and doing mostly single track.

    Would a 2012 Trek 4300 with the hydraulic brakes be much of an upgrade? I know it has the Suntour XCM V3 with 100 mm travel and 30 mm stanchions and mostly shimano acera components.

    Just trying to get an idea of what I should keep an eye out for. I know I won't be spending $1000 any time soon as I am still in dental school with a family.

  6. #6
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    IMO, figure out what you want and wait.
    It isn't like you are not riding so don't be so eager to settle.

    I could understand the want to rush if you weren't pedaling but if you are patient you find the right deal.

    Also IMO the xct and xcm are neither the forks you would want to be doing 3-4 foot drops on. The XCR is a decent fork if you are looking for a budget bike. I have it on my Marin and it does the job well even with decently difficult terrain. However, since you are already riding, you may want to wait until you can get something with an even better fork.

    Another option is to buy a new bike with the xct and take advantage of the upgrade program that Suntour is offering. You can get their Raidon fork wich is a pretty decent fork for $150 (26') or $175 (29"). (You need to have receipt to get the upgrade price)

    So for example, you could could get the Airborn Skyhawk with hydro disc for $350 and then upgrade the fork for another $150 and have a pretty decent bike for $500.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  7. #7
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    I am trying to figure out how much I need to go up before it would be considered a decent upgrade.
    Hi & welcome to MTBR.

    I had read this post yesterday and was reading the new Bicycling magazine this morning, and will share.

    There is an article on "$1000 entry-level bikes". (The Grand Bargin, p 90, Apr 2013). Several things there caught my eye in reference to your post.

    When buying a bike, they recommend focusing on front suspension, wheels, disk brakes, and drivetrain, IN THAT ORDER. I rode an old hand-me-down bike with cantilever that came from Sam's club originally, then upgraded to a '98 Schwinn Mesa with V-Brakes, and rode that for two years.

    V-brakes are more than adequate. Of all the trails I ride, there is only one section I would not attempt on that bike -- a 2 -3 story granite outcropping that is so steep you can't stop. All you can do is control your speed and hope for the best. And I have seen people ride that with V's.

    And bikes aren't like cars -- disks aren't going to automatically be better. I rode one bike whose disk brakes did not work as well as my Schwinn's V's.

    Now don't get me wrong. Good disk brakes are worthwhile. I have a really nice bike now (Ok, maybe not by Bicycling Magazine standards ). The Shimano SLX disk system feels like a sports car. But they are far from my favorite thing about my bike.

    One of the "entry level" bikes the article recommends is the Trek Mamba, MSRP $1020. Hydro brakes, XC32 forks, 3x9, 29".

    You see a lot of X-Calibers around here. About $1600 but they have everything -- air forks, 3x10, tubeless ready.... I rode a friend's a little and wanted one, but ended up with a '12 Superfly AL Elite because I rode one at a demo and fell in love. At the time it was about an extra $300 over the X-Cal MSRP with coupons and discounts. It is nice and light and all, but I am still not convinced that it is worth the extra over the X-Cal. My son since brought an X-Cal so I have gotten to ride one more. NICE bike.

    Anyway, a lot of people are riding bikes that are not as good as yours. You'll be out of school in a few years and can easily afford any bike you want. Meantime, go to factory demos and ride as much stuff as you can.

    BTW, my best friend and wife of 30 years is Filipina. Been to the Philippines (& Southern California ) several times. She rides too. Going to the SE Bike Expo today to try her on a Cali. She is vertically challenged but would like to get her on a 29".

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