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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    Another reccomendation thread

    I have a 3-year old Raleigh m20 that I have almost grown out of. It was a fine bike, but I'd really like a bike with a lighter frame and shocks that work better. I mostly use my bike for going to school, and the occasional off-road trip.

    Question #1: Should I look for a bike with disc brakes? I have heard that they perform well when it's raining (which is important since it rains fairly often during winter where I live) and are more effective in general.

    Question #2: Are there any particular bikes that would suit my needs well? I was considering the Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc (at The Off Ramp) and the Diamondback Response Comp, though the only place where I found it was at ebay.

  2. #2
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    Don't know much about discs - just about to get a set with my new bike. When I was looking at an entry level mountain bike, Specialized and Giant seemed pretty good value, another to consider is probably Avanti. I had a Hardrock Comp (before they changed the frame to look a bit more aggressive) and it served me well and it saw pretty much 90% dirt use (the rockhopper would probably be just as good if not better). There are countless brands, do up a table for yourself with all the ones that you may consider, then weed the list down to 2 or 3 to compare more seriously.
    On my V brakes, when I rode in mud and rain I found I had to pull harder and yes stopping wasn't as good, took longer. Disc brakes have the "cool" factor as well - but if you're riding to school get a good lock cos they could make it more attractive for thieves as well!
    energetix



  3. #3
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    Are diamondback bicycles good? The diamondback response comp looks like a great deal.

  4. #4
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    I don't have any personal expereience with that brand. I do remember quet a while ago they seemed to be rivalling Giant for bikes in that sort of price range. The brand is probably not as "popular" for whatever reason particularly when it comes to the higher end of the spectrum - just my impression. But I've had a look on the website and it seems pretty much on the money in regards to what you get for the price. In reality it comes down to personal preference in the end - so don't beat yourself too much over the brand name. I found that usually one brand will have a better fork - but lack elsewhere, another brand's fork isn't as good but they may have better components. So it's give and take. Choose what's most important to you and if you can get a great deal on this bike in your area then go for it. It's too easy to become biased to particular brands particularly if they are the brands you own.

    I remember when I was buying my first real mountain bike it came down to the Giant Iguana as my prferance, but another bike shop provided a real good deal and excellent service, they said the Specialized Hardrock Comp was essentially the same (except it was 8spd instead of 9) and Specialized did a lifetime frame warranty, so that's it I was sold on the Hardrock.
    energetix



  5. #5
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    Something I just noticed - the bike you are looking at is at the top in that particular range of bikes. A thing that I have learned which is good to look for when you are buying a bike is a bike that shares the same frame as "higher end" or more expensive models. For example the bike I've just purchased - Giant Trance 3, mine cost AU$1900 but shares the same frame as the top of its range Trance 1 (worth around AU$5000). It gives you an idea of which brands or companies are more focused at the serious mtb market rather than the lower end bike market - mind you it doesn't mean that companies who focus more on the lower end of the spectrum don't make good bikes at all - just something to consider.
    energetix



  6. #6
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    Yeah, the rockhopper comp disc seems to have better components, so I'll probably go for it instead of the diamondback. The other problem is that I have no idea where you can buy the diamondback and I haven't seen a single review. Someone is selling a few on ebay

    Could anyone tell me how the components of the diamondback compare to those of the rockhopper? I can generally tell which shimano components are better, but I have no idea how sram components compare to shimano components.

  7. #7
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    I'll assume you're looking at the US rockhopper. - my thoughts from looking at both bikes on the web:

    I know that specialized do a lifetime frame warranty (don't know about Diamondback - I think they're an Australian company by the way so may be why you can't find many in your area)

    I don't know much about Marzzocchi Forks (MZ-3). I would go for the Tora 318 SL (well it's coming with my new bike) but with the MZ-3 you get 120mm of travel as opposed to 100mm with the Tora.

    Rockhopper definitely has better components - Deore & Deore LX

    The rest of the stuff seems to be on par - not stated for the Diamondback, but can see from the picture they have Truvativ cranks and possibly bars. WTB seat, Kenda Tyres.

    In my opinion I reckon Specailized - just from the specs between the two bikes and also Specailized big reputation. And the black looks great!
    energetix



  8. #8
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    Are you referring to the "punk" black? I don't like it, but I really don't care a lot about how the bike looks. At least it looks better than the "dream punk".

    I'm not going to be doing a lot of downhill, so 100mm should be fine. My raleigh looks like it has 70mm or so.

    I looked at Avanti bikes but it doesn't look like they are available near me (San Francisco Bay Area). Are there any other bikes that I should look for that would be better than the rockhopper?

  9. #9
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    lol, in in the same situation as u. im stuck betwwen the rockhopper, gf tassajara, and the trek 6500. same thing from the bay area. they all have a little diff things on them, but most things are about the same. im leaning towards the tassajara (maybe) because the 2 LBS i went to offer life time maintenance ( which is like $70 / 1-2 year???) the hopper cost alittle less i think. $50 and u get disc brakes. if they offered good service then i would certainly get that. but just the life time thingy attracts me . but not sure if maintenance on a bike is overrated or not?? anyone know???

  10. #10
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    Well yes the punk black I thought was much better than the dream!

    If you're not planning to do much off road riding then you don't necessarily need the best spec stuff - but getting a good entry level mtb would give you a good platform to start with, and should be nice and durable. The bikes you are currently looking at are good for getting into mountain biking and xc style of riding (just going out on the trails basically, a few hours or whatever). And of course theyre suitable as commuters as well.

    From Giant this one would be the same level as the rockhopper

    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/030...sp?model=11386

    If you're planning to spend most of your time with the possiblity of getting into urban tricks and stuff then something along the lines of the Giant STP or Specialized Hardrock may be better. There are heaps of brand out there, and some will like one brand better than another guaranteed. Ones I can think of off the top of my head are Haro, Schwinn, Kona, Norco, Specialized, Giant, GT, Trek, Cannondale, Rocky Mountain, Raleigh, Banshee, Gary Fisher well the list is really endless: my favourites are probably Giant, Specialized, Avanti? Kona?, Norco.

    Probably a good idea if you go around to your local bike shops and have a look what each one sells, talk to them about what you want and see what they recommend. Don't be afraid to go in if you're not planning to buy off them or just looking around. They are there to provide service (and of course try and sell you a bike). If you find them very friendly with good service and advice (without trying to push you to buy something that doesn't suit you) then you would probably be more likely to go back and get something off them. And seeing the bikes in person can make a difference to what you think as well, if you find you're keen on one they have then ask to do a bit of a test ride on it.

    I paid a bit more than I could have and purchased my bike locally, mainly because if something is wrong wit it I know where to go. Usually you will at least get the first service free, and if you're lucky you shop may do a 1yrs free servicing. - that's adjusting brakes, gears etc for you whenever you need it done.

    Sorry if I'm posting things you already know - not sure if you've done a purchase through a bike shop before?

    Let me know how you go. ... . and if you need any more advice. (actually strange that no one else has replied here!?!?)
    energetix



  11. #11
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    i know a place where you can get a rockhopper comp disc for $600, which is considerably less than both of the other bikes. The trek 6500 is around $800 without disc breaks from palo alto bicycles, so that's out of my price range. I have absolutely no idea where to find the GF tassajara. It looks like it's also about $800

  12. #12
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    Sorry for the double-post, but I just looked at the giant rainier, and have a few comments.
    It's got a weirdly-shaped frame, and I would prefer to stick with a "tried and true" design. I also haven't seen any 2006 GT bikes at any of the local stores, including Performance Bike, the Off Ramp, and Mike's Bikes. Also, it seems to be priced slightly higher, and my maximum price is around $649.

  13. #13
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    I am in a simular situation, I am looking at the DB response comp, raleigh mojave 8.0 and the trek 4900. I have a LBS that sells the DB/raleigh the DB felt really good on the test ride. I also just looked at the K2 zed 3.0. outside of the trek i have found little talk about the rest.

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    Well no worries, I kind of like the frame - similar to their Trance / Reign full sussers - advantage would be that it gives you better standover clearance - possibly. But yeah it's about what you like!

    I've had a look in this years bike buying guide and pretty much in your price range (or for the price you can get the rockhopper for ($600US = $800AUD)) I don't think you'll find a bike with better specs, and Specialized do make decent frames too.
    Acutally here in Australia the Rockhopper disc comes specced with a Rockshox J3 fork, Sram SX4 triggers & SX5 derailleur & Tektro LP brakes, selling for $800AUD rrp. So I think what you're looking at is a great deal. Give it a test ride and if you're happy go for it.
    energetix



  15. #15
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    I think the free maintenance is a bit overrated, I asked if I opted out of the 1yrs free service (and only took the first service free) how much more they would take off the bike price and they only too off $50Aud. It's mainly checking it over, tightening, lubing and adjusting gears and that - but it's a really good thing if you don't know how to do it yourself or plan to take it in to the shop on a regular basis anyway.

    I think you need to get the first one done in 3 to 6 weeks - because new cables will stretch etc, but after that it's every 3 - 6 months depending on how much you ride and how the bike is going. Still it's handy as they may pick up any issues which you could miss - like when your wheel bearlings need repalcement, a loose headset, worn cassette.
    energetix



  16. #16
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    Just for comparison's sake, I just picked up a new GF Tassajara (non-disc) 3 weeks ago for $650. I looked around and the Trek 6500 seemed to be at least $50-100 more, and I didnt seem to fit on the Rockhopper as well as I wouldve liked. So I ended up with the Tass for a pretty decent deal, I think. I started out looking in the $500 range but decided that to get anything I was looking for component wise, I had to ante up a bit more. There are a couple things I might upgrade in the future (disc brakes and brake levers esp.) but overall I like it and am glad I decided to spend a little bit more upfront.

  17. #17
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    lol we need to make this thread a sticky

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