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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    Idea! Best bike in $650 range?

    Hey Guys,

    I've been riding for a while now, and completely totalled by older department store bike (yes I know, serves me right). My price range is around $650 (or $800 CDN). I try to go offroading as much as possible, but living in the city, there's clearly a lot of road biking going on as well. My trips usually average around 20 km. I'm 5'11", 160, and in fairly good shape. After visiting a couple of local bike shops, I've come back with some recommendations. I really have NO IDEA what to do with these, and honestly, all of the bikes feel fine to me.

    2006 Giant Iguana
    Frame: ALUXX butted aluminum, integrated downtube gusset
    Fork: Marzocchi EXR, 100 millimeters of travel
    Brakes: Hayes MX2 disc with 6 inch rotors
    Wheels: Alex CR18 32H double wall rims, alloy QR sealed disc hubs
    Drivetrain: Shimano deore rear derailleur, shimano alivio front derailleur, deore shifters, TruVativ comp G power spline crankset

    2005 Specialized Hardrock Pro
    Frame: A1 Premium Aluminum, DT/HT 3D box gusset, forged dropouts with reinforced disc mount and eyelets, replaceable forged alloy derailleur hanger, disc only, designed for 100mm travel fork
    Fork: Marzocchi MZ Comp, 100mm travel, preload adjust, steel steerer, elastomer/coil spring
    Brakes: Avid BB5 mechanical disc, 6" rotor
    Wheels: SUN “DitchWitch” 26"x1.75", double wall, eyeleted rims; Specialized Enduro Sport, 26"x2.2", wire bead
    Drivetrain: Shimano Deore, 31.8mm clamp, bottom pull, deore SL shifters

    2006 Brodie Omega
    Frame: Kalloy AL-021/013
    Fork: Suntour SF-XCR 120mm
    Brakes: Hayes HMX-3 / 6" Rotors
    Wheels: Alex 7X23F SW 32H rim; Kenda Kinetics 2.35 tires
    Drivetrain: SRAM 3.0 fronts, Shimano Acera RD-M340 rear, Shimano ST-EF50 shifter

    The Brodie and Giant bikes come with lifetime of free maintenance, while the specialized is for only 2 years. Any help on suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Work Hard, Play Harder
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    The hardrock is a nice bike but, I would look at the specialized rockhopper instead. I like the frame better on the rockhopper personally. You can probably find a rockhopper comp for about 700 dollars. My brother just upgraded from the hardrock to the rockhopper and he likes it much better. He went with the pro model which ran him about 1,100 bucks but the comp has nice specs also.
    06 Rocky Mountain ETSX - Full XTR, Fox Shox, Crossmax XL Wheels

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the suggestion, but I have a feeling that finding a rockhopper in my price range could be difficult. It seems that comparable bikes in Canada are more expensive than in the US. The only reason why I was able to include the hardrock in the above list was because my LBS had the 2005 model for $799CDN (about $695US) marked down from $950CDN.

    Of course, the shop may be pulling the old fashioned "make the customer think it's a great deal so he'll buy it trick"... I really have no idea :-)

  4. #4
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    Yeah, that does seem a bit on the high side for the HardRock, but I can say that HRs and RockHoppers are bomb-proof. If it were me, I'd check into a few different LBSs and see if you can score a RockHopper Comp (non-disc, maybe even an 04 or 05 model) in your price range. They've gotta be out there. Also, you might wanna look into a Norco. Being a Canadian company, I hear you can get them at a better price than in the States. Something to consider, anyway.

    What would the duty be if you bought a bike in the US? I'm wondering if it'd be worth it to try that route, if the prices here are that much better (gotta take into account the 147% GST, too )?

    Anyway, I've only had experience with the Specialized bikes, but I can assure you they're good ones. See how these all fit your body and riding style and get the one that feels best to you. Otherwise you won't ride as much as you might.

    Best of luck!

    Ross
    "I don't wanna die without any scars. So come on, let's do it before I lose my nerve" - Tyler Durden (Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk)

  5. #5
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    haha... I can always just buy the bike in the US and literally ride it back over the border...

    "Anything to declare?"
    "uhhhhh.... noooo..."


  6. #6
    ride hard take risks
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    2006 Brodie Omega

  7. #7
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    Don't know about shipping to Canada but

    Check this out:

    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=3050

    Better than the iguana and Omega in drivetrain and fork.

    Debateable about better brakes than the specialized.

    At this price point all the aluminum frames come out of the same 3 or 4 factories in TW and China so brand really is not a big deal.

    To me focus on a good frame and fork. A $20 rear derailluer and a $100 rear derailluer get trashed on the same rock.

    If limited to the 3 you listed I would go with the S[ecialized because of the fork, brakes, and drivetrain. Learn to do your own service, you will be happier with your stuff in the long run that way anyhow.

    HTH

    FT

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I'm definately open to other models besides the above three, but I'm just worried that my LBS may not carry them. I completely understand about focusing on the frame and fork, but for a newbie like me, I have no idea how to tell the difference.

    From what I've seen above, most of you are saying that the Specialized is the best value out of the three above, but Brodie and Giant seems to have their supporters. hehehe... I'm getting more confused by the second.

    I think I'll keep trying more bike shops in the area. The two I went to weren't too helpful at all... one guy just pointed to a single bike and told me to buy it on the spot (the Iguana), and when I said I wanted to shop around a bit, he started giving me attitude.... grrr....

  9. #9
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    same situation a couple of weeks ago

    one thing you might want to check out is ibexbikes.com. i just got one from there and, while i dont have it yet, it comes in the mail today.

    i live in canada also, and its insane the percentage more that your lbs will charge over the exact same model in the states. this seems to be pretty universal, and even when you account for the exchange rate it still seems like a ripoff (especially since the exchange is pretty decent for us canadians right now)

    so, i went with the ignition 3 they have, cost me about 1100 cdn, but this is after taxes, shipping, duty/brokerage fees, and the exchange rate. seems like a lot to tack on, but almost the same bike is over at http://www.ramsays-online.com/ online store in BC, and their '05 specialized fsr xc is going for 1899 cdn, its almost got the exact spec.... before taxes.

    now, if you want, ill get back to you in a day or so with my impressions of the quality. but even if the frame is junk, i can buy a better one for the difference on a comparably speced bike anyways. (oh, and my frame has a lifetime warranty anyways so im not to worried)

    just some things to consider. it might not be worth it to you given your price point and the pretty high shipping and brokerage costs on the item, but i took the plunge.

    good luck.

  10. #10
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    Well, at least I know that every bike shop in Canada is overpriced, and it's not that my local ones are trying to rip me off :-)


    But because I'm a newbie, I'd much rather buy locally and have them handle the maintenance, rather than buy online. Definately let me know how your purchase went. You also have to be careful about getting caught with paying duty and taxes when the bike crosses the border, which can literally add 30% to the cost.

    Because Brodie is made in Canada, do you think that it would be the biggest bargain out of the above models? The Specialized and Giant were both priced at $799CDN, while the Brody was priced at $750CDN.

    Thanks again!

  11. #11
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    ...

    im pretty new to the mountain biking scene myself. ive only ever had full rigid bikes before which limited my enjoyment on the trails and such.

    anyways. they are all bikes of good quality and reputation that you list, and you are only really buying the frame from the company and the rest of the parts made by other part manufactuers. this site is great for reviews on specific parts.

    what i would suggest is to compare the parts aside from the frame and see which one offers the best value, this is what i did, and because of the savings, i bought it online and i know that im going to end up doning my own general maintenance. no time like the present to learn right?

    but, a good service plan from a nice lbs can be invaluable to alot of people and was definaltely a consideration for me also.

  12. #12
    ride hard take risks
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    2006 Brodie Omega


  13. #13
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    another thing.... RIDE THEM. go with what feels best for you, the most expensive bike can be horrible for some people because of the geometry. consider getting yourself geometry fitted.

    heres a good article on it: http://www.thebikinghub.com/mtb/bene...pro-bike-fits/

  14. #14
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    Well... it's hard to argue with a guy named "Master Splinter", I'll tell you that! Gotta love that name.

    After extensive shopping, I was very close to buying a cheaper Trek 4200 @ $499CDN... and then I saw a Brodie Omega at a really cheap price of $599CDN, but after riding it, it wasn't a great fit for my longer arms. Finally, I went back to my closest bike shop, and found a base model Specialized Rockhopper @ $749CDN, which included lifetime maintenance. The bike felt great while riding it, and based on what people were telling me on this board, it was a solid buy. So now I'm poor, but I have a great bike. One downside is that it doesn't have the disc breaks, but from what people were telling me at he LBS's, if I'm not doing excessive downhills, the breaks will only serve to be a theft beacon in the city anyways.

    So thanks again to everybody on this board. I am now officially BROKE!

  15. #15
    ride hard take risks
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    Need a pic of your new love!

  16. #16
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    Yeah let's see your new baby.I'll show you mine if you show me your's.Ha Ha
    WFO

  17. #17
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    man i thought things in canada were cheaper, guess not. i just got a 06 rockhopper comp disc for 699. but thats US. GL.....

  18. #18
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    that rockhopper comp in canada is 1150.. lol

  19. #19
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    Hah... yeah, there was no way I was going to pay an extra $350 to have my bike stolen in the middle of Toronto.

    The bike is currently being built, but I'll be sure to post a pic on here when it's ready.

  20. #20
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    also where in us did u get that rockhopper.. i have some friends that live in the states. If i ship it to them and bring it to canada will i have to pay duties?

  21. #21
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    I bought it at Gears in Mississauga, ON. They've been around for a long time and offer lifetime maintenance on all of their equipment.

    And yeah, you can bank on Canadian customs charging duty AND tax on anything you have shipped to Canada. This can easily amount to an extra 30% above the cost. Of course, you can take the risk that they won't inspect your shipment, in which case you won't have to pay anything. But with a giant shipment such as a bike, goood luck with that ;-)

  22. #22
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    I thought if you shipped an item to canada and said it was a gift to a friend or family member duty taxes are waived

  23. #23
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    Yeah, I used to think that as well, but even gifts can be charged a well. The only distinction is that you are tax/duty exempt for $60CDN if the package is marked as a gift, and only $20CDN otherwise. So if you're buying a $1000 bike, you're not going to get much help in either case. Besides that, I don't think any American retailer would be willing to mark their shipment as a "gift".

    Fore more information, see: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/import/co...ty_free-e.html

  24. #24
    ride hard take risks
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    Warranty repair.

  25. #25
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    The 2005 Hardrock Pro Disk is a nice bike. I bought it a little over a year and a half ago. I like it a lot. I got mine for $600 US. Your LBS is probably overcharging you. Make a lower offer and see if they will sell it for that price. Most likely they will if its a last years model bike.

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