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  1. #1
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    Best Value Full Suspension Under $3,000.00

    Let me start off by telling a little bit about myself Iím in my mid 40ís and have been doing road riding since 2005 (2000 + miles per year). In 2009 I started doing Cyclocross because as you know itís a real in kick in the pants and it helps keep me motivated to keep in shape for the road season.

    While doing the CX I started to hang out with the MB Guys and Gals and they are whole lot more fun than my fellow Roadies. I even joined their club, and donít even own a MB just the CX rig. Well on New Years rainy day, I actually went out for a trail ride with them on a borrowed hard tail and had a great time. So now Iím looking to join the gang of Mountain Bikers and have my own machine. It will help me get riding in, on those cold foggy days that I canít get the motivation to get my butt out of the house and ride the road for hours.

    My first road bike was $700.00 and I outgrew that in a year, so thus I learned my lesson. I currently have a Specialized Roubaix with Sram drive train and for CX a Fuji Cross pro with entry level Shimano (my first road bike also has Shimano Tiagra/105). I am fond of the Sram shifting but donít know if it makes a difference on a MB.

    Iíve been looking at the Specialized Stumpjumper Elite with the brain and I also like the idea of the Sram 2x10 drive train. Donít like triples on the road why would I like them on the dirt? Iím also looking at the Blur LT because one of the local bike shops is a big supporter of the MB club and has a good reputation among the riders in the club. However he doesnít sell Specialized just the Santa Cruz and Giant lines.

    My budget is $3000.00 out the door (incl CA 9% Tax).So that kind of puts the Blur LT out of reach. I can get the Stumpjumper Elite for that price. So Iím looking for some other bikes to investigate and as they say get the most bang for my buck.

    My riding will consist mainly of trail riding.

    Thanks in advance for all your advice.

    Also not interested in building a bike, want to work with the local bike shops.

  2. #2
    Semi-Hairless Sasquatch
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    If 120mm of travel is enough for you, I'd try to demo/ride a Camber and a Trance and see what you think.

    The Camber Pro has pretty much the same component spec as the Stumpy FSR Elite except for the rear shock and felt much more alive to me. While the SJ Elite could monster truck over just about anything I cared to throw at it, it felt way too bobby to me, not as connected to the trail, and ultimately not as efficient for climbing.

    I've only got to ride a Trance in a parking lot a couple of times, but I hear a lot a positive reviews on them.

  3. #3
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    Are you on a team?

    IMO, all racers should join teams. The biggest reason, for me, is that instead of riding with people who go slow and take breaks, and trying to talk my alleged mountain biker friends into getting off their butts, I'm already in touch with a large group of fast people who ride regularly. A pretty significant side benefit is the deals on gear. It's not as good as insider pricing, usually, but at the pricepoint you're considering and with your desire for a bike that's ridable when you buy it, it's probably better than trying to find something on the internet, and it's nice to get deals on reputable brands. A lot of the build on my MTB was made possible by my team deal, as well as a few bits and pieces on my road and 'cross bikes and even my commuter.

    The least expensive Blur LT is less expensive than the Stumpjumper Elite and nicely equipped. Giant's FS bikes are well-regarded; a friend of mine has one and likes it. If you're looking for something your team deal gets you, something that's not obvious is that you can order Salsa bikes from QBP, making almost every bike shop in the country a Salsa dealer. Their Spearfish fits inside your budget. It's a 29er and with shorter travel than the bikes you were looking at, but if you get the bug to try MTB racing, it'll be a little more efficient.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    Helens has the Trek fuel ex8 at 2150.

  5. #5
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    Normally I wouldn't recommend used bikes to "beginners", b/c they usually can't spot problem areas. But you're not a beginner and familiar with bikes, so presumably that won't be an issue, so that $3,000 could go a LONG way if you're patient. I've been keeping an eye out for a decent deal on another ride (for no good reason) and ran across 2 locally where I live.

    Let someone else pay the depreciation and tax...

    http://raleigh.craigslist.org/bik/2223131149.html

    http://trianglemtb.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=23347.0
    Last edited by GotoDengo; 03-02-2011 at 07:59 AM.

  6. #6
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    id take a good look at the trance x.

  7. #7
    Let's build one more
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    I'm a bit older than you and just picked up a Pivot Mach 5 that rocks. This bike has made my rides so much more fun and really makes me a better rider. I paid less than your budget too I would ride one if you can

  8. #8
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    I would say a Trance or a Anthem just do a search here is a link to all anthem reviews bikerader seems to give reliable reviews. I would not go with any more than a trance suspension wise because of losing power on climbs. I would also have a look at a BMC speed fox I have one and my friend has a giant trance and the bmc climbs better than the trance. Not alot of people know about bmc but they have a great suspension and good build quality competitive cyclists sells them. BMC is a swiss based company with excellent build quality . With competitive cyclists I think you can configure the bike how ever you want so you can change the crank ext.


    http://www.google.com/search?aq=f&so...566e09302ebcf9

  9. #9
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    Read the reviews of the Trek Fuel 8, it's a great bike and way under your budget.

  10. #10
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    You can't go wrong with SRAM 7/9/X or Shimano shifting. Both are quite good. My first suggestion would be to try out some different manufacturers offerings to get an idea of fit/sizing and which ones work better for your build. I found my feet were too close to the front wheel on some as compared to others for example.

    To get the most bang for you buck, buy a used 5k+ bike for 3k or less with no tax and very little depreciation.

    I've made two eBay purchases and have been quite happy with both. Craig's list and your local MTB club would also be good places to check.

  11. #11
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    I'll second the 'buy used' vote, but will throw out a few other options. I have ridden off and on for many years but never with a good group that rides regularly or well. That changed last spring and I'm much luckier for it. So I replaced my old Trek hard tail with an '08 SC Superlight that I snagged of CL for $700. It's a great XC bike, but we ride more of a mix of XC and AM so I had the itch to upgrade. Having a budget it was back to CL with patience until an '09 Blur LT2 showed up for $2900. I ended up just buying the frame because he was moving to the Blur LTc and I moved all my Superlight parts over plus a new fork.

    One of the guys I ride with just got a Yeti ASR5 and that is a sweet bike too. EOY closeout made the price quite right too.

    The best advice anyone can give you is to try as many as you can while you wait for the right bike for you. Rent a bike from your LBS and while you are out with your group swap out with their rides too. Helps to be using compatible clipless pedals. My point is getting saddle time on different rides and asking for feedback from your friends. What works for them won't necessarily work for you and vice versa, but having their perspective is just that much more information in helping you assess the pros and cons of various rigs.

    Fred

  12. #12
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    [QUOTE=dciandrew]I’ve been looking at the Specialized Stumpjumper Elite with the brain.QUOTE]

    I own this bike and love it, the brain is cool, but being 225lbs it doesn't always work as intended. When I really need to crank up a hill I still get a bit of bob. On trails I know, I can set the brain and foget it. On trails I don't know I find I have to do a bit of adjusting.

  13. #13
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    Wow thanks for all the comments. When I get some time I'll look at each one more closely. As reguards to joining a team for racing, so far I'm really not into the racing scene. I do CX just becuase its a lot of fun.

    So far I've only been able to test two stumpjumpers a large without the brain and a medium the brain. At just under 6' I found the medium felt just too small. The large felt just right, the problem is none of the LBS have the 2011 SJ in stock with the brain in my size. Its also not very telling ridng in the parking lot.

    At the last CX race I got to test a Cannondale 29er and even after just coming of my CX bike right after the race, it just felt too big for me so I think I'll stick to the 26"

    On a side note before I got into biking I had a Costco Special (ie Mongoose full supension) and road it on my first ever CX race. Trust me at 46 pounds and no lock out on the supension it kicked my butt. Never rode it again and sold it at a garage sale. So yes I know about peddle bob, it was just awful trying to go up the hills, I must have looked funny just bouncing the whole time. The funny thing to me was I thought I was in shape from all the road riding I did. I couldn't have been more wrong, but two years later and a OK CX bike and some actual CX training it can still kick my butt, but at least I don't get lapped anymore.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by GotoDengo
    Normally I wouldn't recommend used bikes to "beginners", b/c they usually can't spot problem areas. But you're not a beginner and familiar with bikes, so presumably that won't be an issue, so that $3,000 could go a LONG way if you're patient. I've been keeping an eye out for a decent deal on another ride (for no good reason) and ran across 2 locally where I live.

    Let someone else pay the depreciation and tax...

    http://raleigh.craigslist.org/bik/2223131149.html

    http://trianglemtb.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=23347.0
    $2000.00 for a Blur LT that is a good deal. The frame alone is $1900.00 new.

  15. #15
    Fat-tired Roadie Moderator
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    Northern California is a good area for hardtails, at least the parts I know. However, most full-suspension bikes above the grade of a Costco Mongoose will have significantly less pedal bob and FS rigs do seem to get new riders keeping up with group rides faster, which is not a bad thing.

    Try to hop on an XL before committing to the SJ in large. If it's too big, that's good information, and if it's not too big, you just avoided an expensive mistake.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch
    Try to hop on an XL before committing to the SJ in large. If it's too big, that's good information, and if it's not too big, you just avoided an expensive mistake.

    Thanks for the tip didn't even think about trying the XL. It makes sense to check that out too won't cost anything to try.

  17. #17
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    +1 on the Fuel EX8.
    +1 on buying used.

    I patiently watched Craigslist in my area with cash in hand and picked up a 2010 Fuel EX8 for $1500. What made the deal better is he had all reciepts with it and with upgrades had $2700 invested. He needed money to fix his car. Moral of the story is that if you have the cash, patients, time, and knowledge of what red flags to look for before buying, used can save you tons of money. Then you can redirect the remainder of your budget to something else like new gear, upgrades, ect.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dciandrew
    $2000.00 for a Blur LT that is a good deal. The frame alone is $1900.00 new.
    Yeah, I thought about contacting him to take a look, but 150mm is a little too much for the stuff around here. I'd really like an older talas... 120 for everyday use, 140 for the occasional trip to Shenandoahs to visit family, and 100 for the hypothetical race or two I might enter.

  19. #19
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    Another +1 for Trek Fuel EX 8.

    Good luck finding a used one. Warranty is for original owner only. Finding a 2010 still at retailer would be a wet dream.

  20. #20
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    Another vote for the Fuel EX 8 - great combination of parts for the money. Rides well over all sorts of terrain. And well within your budget.

  21. #21
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    Giant Trance X2 MSRP is $2,800.00, the X3 is $2,200.00. And you can probably get them for less than MSRP. Ride one. See if you like it.

  22. #22
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    I got slightly over 12% off MSRP on my Camber Pro ordered in early December.

    Same shop was willing to go $1950 on a 2010 Trance X2 but wouldn't let me demo it on the trails.

    Same story w/ the Fuel EX8 (no demos on any Trek or GF around here), although it didn't seem to fit me as well as the Camber or the Trance (19.5 had me all hunched up and bent over and 21.5 felt way stretched out) so I wasn't really all that interested. I was a little bummed as they had a pretty killer deal on a '10 Rumblefish II that felt darn pretty good in the parking lot, but I was resolved to actually ride a bike on the trails before dropping $2K+ on it.

  23. #23
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    2x10 is awesomesauce. Don't let anyone tell you differently.

    Kinda pricey when paying full price though.

    I don't know what is local, but we sell felt, and the virtue sport fs is right at 2500...You could sell the components and put the extra money towards 2x10 x7-x9

    I would say spend a little extra on the x9. It's snazzy stuff for the price. And the 2x10 is all lighter than 3x9.

  24. #24
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    Besides Specialized are any other manufactures using the 2x10 as standard equipment?

  25. #25
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    So I guess I have to thank the OP (or curse you for lightening my wallet ). If not for this post, I probably wouldn't have been on the buy/sell forums, and would have cursed myself for missing this. My new (used) ride, just picked it up.


  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by dciandrew
    Besides Specialized are any other manufactures using the 2x10 as standard equipment?
    Fezzari is now using 2x10 on their 2011 AM models. The 2010 models have 3x9. The 2011 Nebo is a bit over your price range. The Cascade Peak is under. I'm not sure if they have any 2010 models left over for sale or not. They would be well under $3k.


  27. #27
    Trail Ninja
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    I think racers often unload their high end race bikes off for kind of cheap with mostly new parts. They often swap their own parts and plop the stock ones on the frame they're getting rid of. You can see Superfly 100s going for as low as 3k.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by dciandrew
    Besides Specialized are any other manufactures using the 2x10 as standard equipment?
    Yes, GT is using it on their Sensor and Force.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by tshulthise
    Fezzari is now using 2x10 on their 2011 AM models. The 2010 models have 3x9. The 2011 Nebo is a bit over your price range. The Cascade Peak is under. I'm not sure if they have any 2010 models left over for sale or not. They would be well under $3k.

    What can you tell me about these bikes they have really good prices. Their Cascade outfittet with x9 and xo is $2500.00

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by dciandrew
    What can you tell me about these bikes they have really good prices. Their Cascade outfittet with x9 and xo is $2500.00
    I just purchased a 2011 Cascade the other week.

    This past weekend I had the opportunity to take it on some real trails to test it and it performed great. It surpassed all of my expectations as well as the expectations of others I was riding with.

    Is there anything specific you were wanting to know?

  31. #31
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    The title of the thread is best value for under $3000.00 and it looks like the Cascade may be just that. Been reading all around since my last post, but not a lot of information on their bikes. Just a lot of bickering about how the posters are company boys.

    I really like the idea about 2x10 from Sram and looking at the specs the bikes are outfitted very well for the price. Did they get the fit right and and how is peddle bob and hill climbing?

  32. #32
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    lol...I am NOT a company boy. Nor am I one to drink the kool aid everyone passes out.

    I had been looking for a long travel XC bike since I went to Outerbike last year and rode some super bikes (Santa Cruz Blur LT, Turner 5 Spot, Trek Fuel EX9.8 to name a few).

    When I got back home, I was not happy with my current ride, a Trek Fuel 90 3 inch xc bike. It had been great when I lived in Louisiana, but out here in the west, it just left me feeling beat up and biking wasn't as much fun. So, I tried everything to lighten up the bike and make it a bit more plush like the bikes I had ridden at Outerbike. No such luck. No matter how you cut it, my Fuel just wasn't a 5 inch travel bike.

    So, I started looking around and riding everything I could get my hands on. I couldn't justify the prices of some of the brands I was looking at (Pivot, Santa Cruz, Ellsworth, etc). And the bikes in the price range I wanted to spend didn't have the feel or the compenents I wanted. In the end, I had pretty much settled on the Trek Fuel EX8, although it didn't really ever convince me as the bike I was looking for.

    I had read someone on here mention Fezzari, so figured I'd go give them a look...if anything for a laugh.

    After weeks of researching and deliberating and comparing, I finally decided I'd give it a try. Worst of it, I could always return it after a month of trying it out.

    The 2x10 Sram is awesome! I had ridden the 2x10 Sram stuff at Outerbike and it sold me almost immediately. It was on the wish list for the new bike...even if it had to come a little bit afterwards if the new bike wasn't equipped, it was definitely going to be something I was going to install.

    Fit? Yeah, it's a very comfortable riding position. It fits me like the Blur fit me. And the guys at Fezzari had dialed in the suspension pretty good too. Of course there will be some tweaks for riding style and preference, but it's pretty close.

    Pedal bob? It's no different than my Fuel, the Fuel EX9.8, the Blur and a little bit better than the Turner. I've put the Pro Pedal on, but there's no need in my opinion. When I tested the Blur, the Santa Cruz guys were telling me that it's not something you need, but go ahead and try it. It was the same for the Blur as it is for the Cascade...it's there, but not really needed.

    Hill climbing? It's fine. If I had stronger legs, it would have climbed up a brick wall. It never lost traction on any of the steep climbs. I don't know if that's attributable to tires, tubless system, the frame design, my riding style, or maybe a combination of all of those factors. I can tell you that going uphill is easier on this bike than my Fuel or the Blur. I am extremely surprised at how light the bike feels yet is not flexy at all. I've had a Haro Werks XLS (Santa Cruz Superlight design) that was like a wet noodle. Not the Cascade. Light and stiff, but a plush ride all at the same time.

    I'm not trying to push the brand/bike on anyone, but just trying to give an honest opinion of what I like about the bike. I, like you, couldn't find any substantial information on the brand and hopefully this will provide a little insight for someone.
    Last edited by will-lee wonka; 03-08-2011 at 02:19 PM.

  33. #33
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    All 2011 Trance Xs, except the X4, are 3x10. You can make it 2x10 by removing the biggest ring and replacing it with a light bashguard.

  34. #34
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    You can go that route of taking off the big chainring and replacing with a bashguard on a 3 chainring crank, but that isn't comparable to an actual 2 chainring crank.

    The gearing is completely different on the 2x cranks than on the 3x cranks. Hence, the need for a differently geared cassette as opposed to a cassette used with a 3x crank.

    The cranks are different as well (BCD).

    All of the drivetrain is specifically set up to work together and it's not something you can replicate with 3x stuff.

  35. #35
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    Thanks for the review will-lee. I'll be giving this bike a very hard look, its well within my budget and no CA tax (they get enough of my money).

    So now that you've said the good what is the bad and the ugly?

  36. #36
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    The bad and the ugly?

    Well, I don't have anything honestly.

    The guys at Fezzari (I dealt with Tyler mainly) were patient and understanding about my reservations. They answered all of my questions and never tried to dog another brand or overly hype up theirs. It didn't feel like I was buying a used car. No pressure.

    The bike came quickly. Ordered on a Thursday, they shipped it out on Friday, I had it on Tuesday. They even emailed me a pic of MY bike before they packed it.

    I had the wheelset upgraded to Mavic Crosstrails, which they put in Stan's sealant before it shipped. They aired up the tires and aired up the shocks.

    It was packed well and nothing was damaged.

    Tyler was gonna throw in a water bottle, but since the frame (medium) doesn't have water holder bosses, he threw in a t-shirt instead.

    It was simple to put together, but I can turn a wrench. I worked in a shop for a while and have done all of my own mech work for years. But even still, it's not rocket science to put it together.

    They included ALL of the bits and pieces that would go with all of the miscellaneous parts (mavic valve core remover for the tubeless setup, QR axle converter since fork is 15mm QR, etc). It also came with flat pedals so I could test it out immediately (since I was at work and didn't have pedals with me).

    Honestly, I don't have any ugly to air about the bike or the ordering experience. If I did, I would and I would be sending it back pronto. But, there has been nothing unsatisfactory about the purchase.

  37. #37
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    considering ALL brands...

    It's funny that what I thought was the best is completely overlooked here. Just when I think that I know everything, I find out that I'm 5 cans short of a 6 pack.
    What I mean is that, I thought that the Fuji Reveal was "all that and a bag of chips". Granted, it "stickers" for something like $4300 but, I believe that it can be had for $3K To my surprise, very few riders seem to recognize Fuji. Even the most seasoned riders haven't had a chance to ride ALL brands... right? I admit that I (sort of) had my heart set on a large 2011 Fuji Reveal 1.0. It felt super comfy under my 6'1" 225lbs, frame. I'm very top heavy (body builder) so the locking shock was a God-sent for me. Unfortunately, I haven't taken it on a trail to see if the new rear suspension would handle the beating that I will likely give it - not to mention peddle bob... The specs seem impressive in stock form so, why is it that it gets overlooked? Note: I rode the 2010 model - not the updated 2011.
    I'm no expert (don't tell my wife that I said that) on bikes. That's why I'm here. I just wish that there weren't so many different opinions. Can't you guys agree on anything!? I thought that there would be one or two different brands/models that would just stand out amongst the others. You guys don't make it easy!
    PaneLess Window Washing + Roof cleaning of Montgomery & Bucks county

  38. #38
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    If you want to go that route, the Mongoose Teocali Super closeouts from prior year models are killer deals. Under 2k for a well spec'ed trail machine, complete with adj seat dropper post.

    Consider what Chris Akrigg does on it, if you question its performance. Most bikes in this range are solid. He can do the same on a Blur LT2 or a Giant Trance, but the question is if any are better. I don't think there's too much difference to justify difference in price.
    Last edited by Varaxis; 03-08-2011 at 01:44 PM.

  39. #39
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    Opinions are like a$$holes, everyone's got one and everyones but your own stinks...

    In the spirit of the above statement, I think unless you have the opportunity to ride each candidate for yourself, form your own opinion and compare them for your self, it's always going to be a bit of a crap shoot.

    It's useful to compare component and geometry specs on paper and maybe get some first hand info from others who have ridden a bike you're considering, but IMHO there's some degree of dice rolling going on when you plunk down cash for a bike you haven't had the opportunity to put through its paces for your self.

    Just my smelly .02 though.

  40. #40
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    All good points.

    I didn't even think to look at what Fuji has in their line up.

    I would have liked to have ridden a Felt Compulsion.

    There are SO many bikes/brands like was said, that's it's impossible to ride them all.

    I still don't think you can beat the price of the Fezzari. The specs are just too good at that price, IMO.

    Hope that doesn't stink ;-)

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid Nitzerglobin
    Opinions are like a$$holes, everyone's got one and everyones but your own stinks...

    In the spirit of the above statement, I think unless you have the opportunity to ride each candidate for yourself, form your own opinion and compare them for your self, it's always going to be a bit of a crap shoot.

    It's useful to compare component and geometry specs on paper and maybe get some first hand info from others who have ridden a bike you're considering, but IMHO there's some degree of dice rolling going on when you plunk down cash for a bike you haven't had the opportunity to put through its paces for your self.

    Just my smelly .02 though.
    If all the componets are the same doesn't it just come down the frame? How it fits you and how it feels on the trails your going to ride it on? Fox is Fox and Sram is Sram and you can change tires and rims easly.

    As a weekend warrior Iím figuring that whatever the characteristics of a particular frame are IĎll get use to. Iím not interested in being the fastest or the best, just having the most fun.

    I know quality is very important thatís why ďthe most bang for the buckĒ comment. I want a good quality comfortable bike (read not too heavy or too much wasted effort) that will last and that will make me want to get on the trails and ride with my friends.

    Iím sure all the bikes in this thread meet that, now it comes as it always does how much $$ do I have.

    You guys have been great in helping out a newbie in the world of off road riding

  42. #42
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    I think you want what most of us want...a bike that makes it fun to get out and ride.

    Good luck and let us know what you end up getting and how you like it.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by dciandrew
    If all the componets are the same doesn't it just come down the frame? How it fits you and how it feels on the trails your going to ride it on? Fox is Fox and Sram is Sram and you can change tires and rims easly.

    As a weekend warrior Iím figuring that whatever the characteristics of a particular frame are IĎll get use to. Iím not interested in being the fastest or the best, just having the most fun.

    I know quality is very important thatís why ďthe most bang for the buckĒ comment. I want a good quality comfortable bike (read not too heavy or too much wasted effort) that will last and that will make me want to get on the trails and ride with my friends.

    Iím sure all the bikes in this thread meet that, now it comes as it always does how much $$ do I have.

    You guys have been great in helping out a newbie in the world of off road riding
    Yeah, for the most part components are components. Many of the bigger manufacturers might have some mods made to standard retail specs and stock tuning though. The rear suspension design of the frame plays a pretty big role in efficiency and handling dynamics as well. What riding the bikes as assembled gives you is a direct impression of the sum of all the parts and how that suits your riding in addition to how the geometry works for you. The map is not always the territory.

    Being a weekend (and occasional weekday when work and weather don't get in the way) warrior myself, I'm not all that concerned about raw performance either. For me it's all about what feels the best, both from a comfort and fun perspective.

    I'd agree that pretty much any bike in the price range you're looking at is going to be pretty good, the focus for me would be more on which works best for me. Buying online or locally w/o a demo works out well for plenty of people, I'm just not all that comfortable w/ it myself, but then I'm kind of compulsive about big purchases and prone to buyer's remorse if I don't feel I've done my due diligence.

  44. #44
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    Like you say, components are components. Frames are frames as well. Not all frames are $1000+. Not sure whose "post above" you were referring to, but even if you do consider the Mongoose Teocali Super and end up not liking the frame, all the parts are very good. There's deals out there on frames like the Titus El Guapo for $700, KHS (looked like a standard Horst Link) $500, Blur LT2 $1000, and so on (all inc. rear shock).

    Taking all the parts off a frame and putting them on another gives you a good chance to make sure it's done correctly with grease/thread loc/anti seize, proper torque, etc.

    Other options:

    Here's a decent deal on a Rocky Mountain Carbon FS, but has CA tax: http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...l+Bike+10.aspx

    Saw this one posted by someone else and thought it was a good deal, GT Force Carbon: http://www.giantnerd.com/2010-gt-gt-...-mountain.html

  45. #45
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    For me, the most important consideration when buying a full suspension bike is the suspension design because you can change almost everything else on the bike but not that.

    Research all the suspension systems that are out there - the good and the bad of each one, ride the bikes, see how they feel and choose the suspension system you like best. You'll then be able to narrow down your bike choices to only the ones that have that suspension system.

  46. #46
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    I'm not sure that narrowing down a buying decision based on the suspension design is very adequate.

    There isn't one suspension design that is better than any other. Each have their pros and cons. And implentation of the design is far more important than just the design itself. For example, a well designed four bar can outperform a single pivot or DW link if executed properly.

    I found these links to be very helpful:
    http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/articl...n-part-1-28367

    and part 2

    http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/articl...n-part-2-28438


    I also did some research on other topics like brake jack, and the rear wheel path, blah blah blah...

    It was all informative, but in the end, it's like shoes...what feels comfortable to you. Sure, there are better bikes than others, but once you get above a certain pricepoint, they are all very well executed designs, but each has their own feel and characteristics. And what might feel awesome to me, might feel like a rolling turd to you.

    And just like shoes, you can't try on every single brand or model. And sometimes you simply pick a shoe because you think they're pretty.

    I know it sucks from all the information overload and choices/options that are out there, but ride what you can, gather a few opinions that seem to be consistent, examine prices, compare specs, and pick the prettiest one. ;-)

  47. #47
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    I had previously read these, and thats one of the things I looked at on the Fezzari. What I found intresting is what bikeradar says about the "Standard four bar".

    "Specialized own the patent on the Horst Link, but many brands pay for the licence to use it."

    From that aspect it has a tried and true design.

  48. #48
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    Cool!

    The Horst is a four bar that has the rear pivot in front of and lower than the rear axle. And any bike that uses the design pays Specialized and will have S near the link to give credit to the horst link (like Titus).

    Most other four bars (aka faux bar) have the rear pivot above the rear axle.

    In real terms, this is about a 3mm difference in wheel path, where the horst rear wheel will travel slightly more vertical by 3mm in comparison to other four bars where the rear wheel follows the arc of the main pivot (like a single pivot).

    The Fezzari has the same suspension design as Konas, Felts, Ventanas...and these are held in high regard in terms of their suspension performance...not junk just because they are a "faux" bar...which incidentally, was a marketing tactic from Specialized to distance itself from the basic design and highlight the Horst Link.

    If you are really interested in the Fezzari, I can tell you what I found out.

    There are basically 2 factories that churn out bikes. One in China (Giant) and one in Taiwan from a company called Merida. Merida produces Specialized and many many other brands...I think the Giant factory is where Trek and several other brands are produced.

    Anyway, a few years ago, Merida decided to market their own brand of bikes since they were already producing so many for other companies (btw, Merida own 19% of Specialized). The Meridas are sold mainly in Europe and Australia. I believe the Fezzari is made in the Merida factory (the similarities are obvious...just look up the Merida bikes and note the dropouts and rocker link and these pieces are stamped out by the bagillions...also, the Merida bikes are well reviewed also). Fezzari sends their design specs to Merida (just like Specialized and everyone else does) and the factory churns it out.

    So, after finding all this out, I felt much better about getting the Fezzari.

    I'm still not saying that the Fezzari is the end all be all of mountain bikes. I'm not telling everyone at the top of my lungs to get one.

    I'm just saying that just because they are a brand that is not well known or is a buy direct that they should be written off. Some people may have never heard of Pivot bikes, Ibis, Transition, Yeti or Ventana.

    I wish I could let anyone ride my bike to see for themselves if they like it or not. I know that for me, it's a good fit and the components and price was a bonus.

    And I can remind you that if you get it and you don't like it, then just return it. Try that with a Trek or Specialized or Giant.


    P.S.-Don't let Brake Jack talk get under your skin either. It's more a bunch of hype. What's gonna cause you to lose rear traction is the shifting of your weight more than any suspension design.
    http://www.bicycling.com/mountainbik...s-not-here-man
    Last edited by will-lee wonka; 03-08-2011 at 06:54 PM.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by dciandrew
    Let me start off by telling a little bit about myself Iím in my mid 40ís and have been doing road riding since 2005 (2000 + miles per year). In 2009 I started doing Cyclocross because as you know itís a real in kick in the pants and it helps keep me motivated to keep in shape for the road season.

    While doing the CX I started to hang out with the MB Guys and Gals and they are whole lot more fun than my fellow Roadies. I even joined their club, and donít even own a MB just the CX rig. Well on New Years rainy day, I actually went out for a trail ride with them on a borrowed hard tail and had a great time. So now Iím looking to join the gang of Mountain Bikers and have my own machine. It will help me get riding in, on those cold foggy days that I canít get the motivation to get my butt out of the house and ride the road for hours.

    My first road bike was $700.00 and I outgrew that in a year, so thus I learned my lesson. I currently have a Specialized Roubaix with Sram drive train and for CX a Fuji Cross pro with entry level Shimano (my first road bike also has Shimano Tiagra/105). I am fond of the Sram shifting but donít know if it makes a difference on a MB.

    Iíve been looking at the Specialized Stumpjumper Elite with the brain and I also like the idea of the Sram 2x10 drive train. Donít like triples on the road why would I like them on the dirt? Iím also looking at the Blur LT because one of the local bike shops is a big supporter of the MB club and has a good reputation among the riders in the club. However he doesnít sell Specialized just the Santa Cruz and Giant lines.

    My budget is $3000.00 out the door (incl CA 9% Tax).So that kind of puts the Blur LT out of reach. I can get the Stumpjumper Elite for that price. So Iím looking for some other bikes to investigate and as they say get the most bang for my buck.

    My riding will consist mainly of trail riding.

    Thanks in advance for all your advice.

    Also not interested in building a bike, want to work with the local bike shops.
    You can pick up 2009 and 2010 Marin models that have excellent specs for 2/3 of your stated budget as they are being blown out to make room for 2011 models and beyond. These are often overlooked machines, and they easily compete with many boutique brands in terms of design, features and specifications.

    The 2009 Mount Vision gives you an excellent FS XC platform with 4-5" of travel so it can do a lot more than pure XC might suggest. Check out the 5.7 for oustanding bang for the buck. Even the 5.6 is well spec'd.

    2010 Attack Trail or 2009 Wolf Ridge (same machine essentially) give you closer to 6" of travel and geometry closer to what is expected in more of an AM package. The Attack Trail 6.8, for example, has very nice parts and are available on the street for <$2K. Full retail is much more of course.

    Definitely worth a look. There's a reason these bikes have won several shootouts over the years.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by dciandrew
    My riding will consist mainly of trail riding.

    Thanks in advance for all your advice.

    Also not interested in building a bike, want to work with the local bike shops.
    Best value under $3K? My new Rumblefish (29r) on it's way. Oh, and I'm older than you. I looked for a plush ride. These bones aren't getting any softer.

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