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  1. #1
    TJM
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    Advice - which of these is a better deal? Been out too long!

    Hi everyone,

    I used to have a mountain bike (two, in fact - both Cannondales around $1000 - $1500), the first one ended up with a bent frame and the second was stolen. That was long enough ago that I am pretty much a noob again.

    I am looking to get back into it; I'm about 6'1 or 6'2, 220 lbs; I have a price ceiling of about $850 now (kids, man, they ain't cheap). I will use it for commuting to school and riding fire roads or single track whenever I get the chance.

    Having forgotten pretty much everything about the hierarchy of components, and having no clue what the new stuff is, I have found myself out of my element.

    I found a couple models I like, and was wondering if someone can help me make a good call on this:

    Here's one: Trail 29 6 - MOUNTAIN - BIKES - 2014

    which the shop is willing to sell me for $650 due to a bit of confusion on a previous deal.

    The other one: Mountain Bikes at REI

    Getting a better frame that will be worthy of better components later on is no issue for me. Thing is, I don't know about these frames, nor the components that are on them.

    Long story short, can you help me figure out which of these bikes to go with? Is one frame better than the other/more worthy of keeping in the long run? If the frames are comparable in value, what about the components? Do they factor in enough to justify the expense?

    Sorry to throw that at you, I know it's a long read. But in my experience, the best way to figure something like this out is to go straight to the experts.

    Thanks for your patience.

  2. #2
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    First, go to a Local bike shop and ask them (hopefully they carry TREK) they have the best warranty (and geometry I think)---

    they will know A LOT more about what you really need (more so than some p/t REI employee)

    Also those bikes listed have the old 71-74 angles.. Get a TREK and get the 69.5-72.5 range (they ride and feel A LOT better.)

    Go to a BIKLINE and see what they have available (sure you could get a 2 year old bike that would now be 1/2 price---and get TWICE the bike than the ones you are looking at.)

    ...me, I would do the REI route if you just needed something to ride with family (on vacations..)

  3. #3
    TJM
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    Interesting that you're so quick to diss REI... they have the same model bike (linked) as my bike shop for $80 to $100 less. Just because someone works there and not at a bike shop doesn't mean they don't know what they're talking about. One of the most educated people I've met yet on land nav/GPS worked at an REI, and he is still my go-to guy for all things navigation, from paper map & compass to handheld GPS's and all their associated software/hardware. THe same can hold true for any category.

    I never heard of BIKLINE and will check it out. I've never been a fan or Treks but my time on them has been pretty limited. What is it about the 69.5-72.5 angle range that helps? This is brand new info for me.

    If I go check out the site, I'm still lost for what to look for, so it's back to square 1.

    ETA: Can't find a site that goes by BIKLINE that has much to do with bike sales; found some BIKELINE ones but they were shops in the upper Northeast. Can you link the site?

  4. #4
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    Advice - which of these is a better deal? Been out too long!

    The REI link didn't return a specific bike, so I'm not sure which one you're looking at there and can't help with the comparison. That said, I agree that you can find knowledge people at REI. You can also find idiots in a bike shop. I would consider which is going to support you better after the purchase.

    I don't think there's anything particularly special about Trek, and for the use you describe, the classic XC geometry is ideal. (There is a sticky at the top of this forum that offers some basic guidance about bike geometry if you're interested.) Anything at the price point you're considering will do fine for what you want.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJM View Post
    Interesting that you're so quick to diss REI... they have the same model bike (linked) as my bike shop for $80 to $100 less. Just because someone works there and not at a bike shop doesn't mean they don't know what they're talking about. One of the most educated people I've met yet on land nav/GPS worked at an REI, and he is still my go-to guy for all things navigation, from paper map & compass to handheld GPS's and all their associated software/hardware. THe same can hold true for any category.

    I never heard of BIKLINE and will check it out. I've never been a fan or Treks but my time on them has been pretty limited. What is it about the 69.5-72.5 angle range that helps? This is brand new info for me.

    If I go check out the site, I'm still lost for what to look for, so it's back to square 1.

    ETA: Can't find a site that goes by BIKLINE that has much to do with bike sales; found some BIKELINE ones but they were shops in the upper Northeast. Can you link the site?
    I can't give you advice on which is the best deal for you OP but I would recommend you to definitely check out REI. In my opinion they are one of the most professional bike shops online and they really know there business. I bought a few bikes from them over the years and I never had a problem with them. Also there support is great.
    Last edited by Max24; 03-09-2015 at 11:52 PM.

  6. #6
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    I lived at REI in Conshocken Pa (outside of Philly) and they have pretty good wrench's there(if you go to the main guy there..)

    My experience being there from asking about the Cliff, etc supplements has been limited when asking about them specifically (folks out front there just had not the best knowledge of individual items) and when first getting a bike I was looking at bikes there (as a reference.)

    The staff member I got 3 times there had very limited knowledge on components, geometry, etc. compared to the bike shops I had been to. Just my experience... but happened every time.. And my chance of being able to ask someone about the difference between wheel sizes, mechanical or hydro brakes (and even certain seats) has ALWAYS been better in the bike shops specifically than at REI. ALSO there is NO HAGGLING the price at REI and have Always gotten a better deal on bikes at the LBS.. And they threw in some extra's with that that REI would have certainly charged for!!

    I mean, good luck, do as you please (but you did ask for an opinion..) and I am sure most reading this might agree (especially those in Philly area...)

  7. #7
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    There's nothing wrong with REI. You can get morons anywhere. You just have to talk to them and decide for yourself.

    Trek is just another brand. No better, no worse than the bulk of the brands out there. If they work for you, then great. If not, whatever. Hope you find another that does.

  8. #8
    TJM
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    OK my link apparently didnt take you to the right spot... I was trying to show you a different option I was looking at. I will try again:

    Cannondale Trail 4 Bike - 2014 at REI.com

    If it doesn't post correctly, I am trying to link to a Cannondale Trail 4, 2014 going for about $850 on REIs site.

    I understand about getting a sub-par employee, but that can happen anywhere. I tried to bring my business to a neighborhood bike shop when I was active in the sport, and the wrench there tried to upsell me on the repairs, thinking I'd be another clueless customer. I'm pretty sure he was used to soccer moms coming in to get their kids a bike or get it repaired. I called him out on his BS and never went back. It can happen anywhere. I went to another bike shop and the guy did the repair for free in less than ten minutes.

    Anyway, I will read up on the geometry sticky, time permitting, but would like to strike this iron while it's hot. Its not every day I talk the wife into letting me blow a wad of cash on a bike, know what I mean?

  9. #9
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    Advice - which of these is a better deal? Been out too long!

    The components and spec level are generally comparable. But one is a 26" wheel and the other is a 29" wheel. They will ride differently. You need to ride each wheel size to decide for yourself which you prefer.

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    If you start to ride more difficult/fun trails anything with a Suntour 'X' fork will be out of what it was designed for. As Nick at Suntour has said- it's a $60 fork. The Raidon air fork on the Novara is good for all terrain. REI has 20% off days periodically. That bike goes for 800. The Trek geo is the next step in 29 development. It uses fork offset of 51mm to help quicken steering and the slacker head tube angle for stability going downhill at speed. Trek in April does a 15% off weekend deal often.

  11. #11
    TJM
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    If you start to ride more difficult/fun trails anything with a Suntour 'X' fork will be out of what it was designed for. As Nick at Suntour has said- it's a $60 fork. The Raidon air fork on the Novara is good for all terrain. REI has 20% off days periodically. That bike goes for 800. The Trek geo is the next step in 29 development. It uses fork offset of 51mm to help quicken steering and the slacker head tube angle for stability going downhill at speed. Trek in April does a 15% off weekend deal often.
    Very good info, thanks. I will wait for April if I can, but need to be riding as soon as weather permits, for a variety of reasons I won't bore you with. I wasn't aware that the fork was so bargain basement; sucks that it's the same on both bikes. Maybe I could have the shop upgrade it and pay the difference. Otherwise I'm going to be starting all over. Not that big of a deal - rather make the right buy now than regret it later.

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    It's cheeper to my an upgraded bike than to do it yourself.

  13. #13
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    For $850, you can likely score a killer used bike. I would strongly recommend checking CL and finding out if any shops in your area carry pre-owned stuff. Where are you located?

    Always keep in mind that going with something different or proprietary (like the offset on the Treks mentioned above, or a C-dale Lefty set-up) can limit your choices down the road when it comes time to replace or upgrade, specially if you plan to keep the bike for awhile and manufacturers have moved on to the next 'next step'.
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  14. #14
    TJM
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    I've been looking on craigslist but there isn't much love there; a lot of bikes that were $200 or $300 when new, and some going for $2000+; not much in the middle.

    I am bearing in mind the cost of upgrades, but would be fine doing that later if the initial investment gets me on the road; by the time I have the $$$ for upgrades I will know what I really want to swap out, and which bit has to go first. So I guess I'm looking for a frame worthy of keeping around and a set of parts that will last me at least a year and a half. The fork I would like to not have to swap out though. Preferably that will be one of the parts I pay for up front.

  15. #15
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    Well I love my Cdale lefty! Slaphead is correct about it being proprietary but man what a ride! It is the bike that when I see it in the basement I just want to take it out and ride it! I felt that way about all the Cdale's I rode.
    But some don't care for it! All in what you want. Look for some last model year and even 2012. After a long hard search I found a 2013 Cdale f29 1 alloy at the lbs, for $1699,$1100 off. Keep looking its out there! Also around here in march we have a lot of lbs sales so keep an eye out.
    Bill
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