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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    Which is better buy/choice NEED HELP FAST

    I need to choose in the next 2 or 3 days, one of these 3 hardtails. I do not know enough yet about the components to make a good decision and could use some advice. If all three were your size and setting in front of you which would you choose and why or why not. THANKS
    1) 2002 Giant Rainier $250, 2) 2008 Trek 4300 $275, 3) Specialized hard rock disc 2009 for $300. I know that the Rainier was better in 2002 but have the other two being newer with new components caught up or passed it? I do not remember if the Hard Rock is a dis basic or sport. Need help fast.

  2. #2
    T.W.O.
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    Look at the components. Hard rock looks like the right choice but just a model and price does not say anything.

    Most important get the one that fits.


    Sent from my iPhone 4s using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    Based on the prices, are these all craigslist deals? It would help if you posted them and let us see the ads.

    If all are completely stock, I would at least avoid the Giant based on its age. Then if the 4300 has rim brakes, I'd go with the Spec for its discs. They are all basic and sturdy budget bikes at that level.

  4. #4
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    Rule out the Giant right off the bat. I would probably go with the Hardrock but the Trek could be better as well.

    Post a link if it's Craiglist so we can take a look.

  5. #5
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    what type of riding do you plan to do on them?

    Myself i would lean towards the newer bikes, compare the components and wear and tare on the trek and spec.
    2012 Giant Reign 1

  6. #6
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    I plan on using it just for rec riding, staying in shape, having fun. but want the best built of the choices. Ive got to post a few more times before I can attach the links. But I do have 2 more choices now and are leaning very strongly in their favor a 2010 gary fisher piranha and a 2004 Gary finch cake 2 dlx. I will try to post links soon.

  7. #7
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    If your ordering online the only thing you can do is compare components, if your just burning around doing hardpack trails and commuting and having fun any of them will do fine. Provided they are in good order, if you can get something with disc breaks its a bonus.

    Sizing and comfort are the two biggest factors and not being able to go take them for a test spin is a little frustrating, are these all new or heavily used?. Condition may be the only thing we can help you on.
    2012 Giant Reign 1

  8. #8
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    Yea it all depends on sizing and what you're going to be riding. But as a general rule of thumb I'd stay away from the older ones - even if the 2002 is in near mint condition and was kept in a garage (which it probably wasn't) the technology had changed in the past 11 years. I'd stay stick with anything 2006 or later - though that's somewhat of a subjective number.

    And check out Bikepedia to see if you can get the component listing and MSRP, that will tell you a lot about whether a particular bike is worth it and/or how good the component sets are.

  9. #9
    Single(Pivot)and Happy
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    How tall are you? What are the frame sizes?

    Seriously, a free $7,000 bike that doesn't fit you will not allow you to enjoy the trails. A 10 year old bike in working condition that fits you is way better than a 2 year old bike that doesn't fit.
    The suspension of your bike sucks if it's different than mine. Really. It sucks. Big time.

  10. #10
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    Site management says that I have not posted enough to attach links to other sites yet. It seems that FORKS are a big distinguishing factor on entry level bikes, here are the forks on the 4 bikes that are still available. 1) 2009 G.F. Piranha, RockShox Dart 2 with 100mm travel, Material is listed as single. 2) 2010 G.F. Piranha, RockShox Tora SL Coil with 100mm travel, material is G2 46mm offset. 3) 2009 Specializedand Hard Rock Disc, RockShox Dart 3 with 80mm travel, Material is alloy single crown. 4) 2009 Specialized Rock Hopper, Dart 3 SSL 100mm travel, material is aluminum chromoly single crown and 5) 2009 Trek 4300, RST Gilla T8 100mm travel, Material listed as single crown. All are my size 18-20, I'm 5'11. And I wish I could test ride all but with them being so spread out I plan on visiting the better of the bunch first.
    Last edited by rjjackson36426; 12-17-2012 at 04:52 PM.

  11. #11
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    If I had to guess, youíre in that position as a person new to this sport who is super excited about jumping in, and feeling overwhelmed by everything youíre finding. Thatís an exciting place to be. Many people have posted a lot of good advice, though youíre probably waiting for someone to drop the silver bullet that you think will single out one bike above the rest.

    From looking at that list, though, the best and worst of the bunch arenít that far apart. For a choice, I'd say go for the 2010 GF with the Tora fork, for the fork alone. Even though itís the coil one instead of air, I would still put the Tora above the Dart and Gila forks. After that, anything with a Dart 3.

  12. #12
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    Too hard to say from the info you have given especially since there is so much more involved in picking a bike. I mean if they were all brand new out of the box, the right size and fit you perfectly I would actually take the Giant as it has nicer components.

    Now, we all know that is not the case and even though the giant has a nicer fork, it is still an 11 year old bike and could be ready for a rebuild and the bike may be needing more maintenance. That being said, you may be better off getting the newer bike and spending money on upgrading with new components vs maintaining existing ones.

    I would say check out each bike and pick the one that fits you.
    However, I would also say since you admit that you don't know a lot about bikes, it may be in your best interests to spend a few extra dollars and buy a new bike from a LBS where they will walk you through the components, fit you to a bike properly, etc. You could get new bikes with similar components to the newer ones for not much more then the 2nd two bikes and it will be tuned up when you get it and you will usually get at least 1 additional tune up for free.

  13. #13
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    Last two, is 1 worth 150 more than the other?

    BikePedia -

    Final two rest are gone. I understand that the best way by far is to test them all but I am not in the position to do so and when I test ride one this week if it does not fit I am not going to buy. I would just as many opinions as possible on which bike has the better components, more durable and may last longer. My last two choices are the 2010 Specialized HardRock Disc or 2009 Gary Fisher Piranha link above as the comparison but its all greek to me (for now). The HardRock is $350 and is SHOWROOM mint. the Piranha is $500 and has a few normal use scratches, it has been used often but taken care of. Is the Piranha worth $150 more?
    Last edited by rjjackson36426; 12-17-2012 at 09:11 PM.

  14. #14
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    Have you even test ridden any of them?

    Fit is the most important. A poor fitting bike will work against you and your enjoyment.

    -S

  15. #15
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    Addressing your question about which is better between the two, it would be the GF. It is certainly worth more than the Specialized as long as it's not too worn out. Here's why:

    -The GF components are SRAM X5 level. For SRAM, the larger the number-3, 5, 7, 9-the better quality it is (except for X0, which contradictorily is a top shelf component set). It is commonly held that X5 is the minimum level required for durable use in dirt. The X3 parts on the the Spec are more commuter-grade. Side note on SRAM and Shimano - as a rule - their drive train controls don't mix and match well, so if you have any plans down the road about swapping parts, ask first.

    -The GF has a 9 speed rear cassette, while the Spec has 7 speed. The long explanation is that the GF has a modern freehub, and the Spec has an out-dated freewheel cassette. The short explanation is the GF is easier to swap a new cassette onto.

    -The GF has a 100mm fork. The fork itself isn't anything to write home about, but it means the bike's geometry was designed to handle a 100mm fork. And if you were to ever upgrade down the line, 100mm forks are much easier to find than 80mm.

    To put it another way, the GF is a Honda Accord, and the Spec is a Mitsubishi Gallant. The Accord is better in every way, but don't expect a race car.

    And heed what people say about how it fits. If the GF isn't the right frame size for you, just let it pass by. You said earlier you were 5-11"? That sounds like a 17.5" GF size. I would hesitate if the GF turned out to be a 19". Keep the family jewels in mind.

    edit - come to think of it, maybe GF's 19" size means its fine for your height. Go see.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for the break down. No, I have not rode either yet. I intend on trying both. And will choose the best one for me. But as many opinions from more experienced riders opinions about the components and a side by side comparison to increase my knowledge and understanding is a plus. Trying to not go into buying absolutely blind, less chance of getting taken advantage of.
    Last edited by rjjackson36426; 12-18-2012 at 06:50 AM.

  17. #17
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    Let me add a little wrinkle, what if on my personal inspection the GF is not in as good a shape as the seller claims it is. Is a GF that is in need or repairs worth $150 more than the perfect shape Spec.

  18. #18
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    I believe Specialized gives you more bang for the buck than Trek.

  19. #19
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    Myself i would lean towards the newer bikes, compare the components and wear and tare on the trek and spec

  20. #20
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    I have no preference for either GF or Spec, so Iím trying to give an unbiased assessment between your two examples. I donít own anything from either, and donít normally look at them when shopping for a bike.

    If you find the GF isnít in pristine shape, I would just try to talk him down in price. I just feel that after a pristine bike with X3 running gear has been broken in, it still wonít be as good as broken in X5 gear. Will you have fun on either bike? Sure, since youíre just starting out. You wonít be able to feel the finer points of handling between different bikes for a while, until you log lots of saddle time.

  21. #21
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    You have to get the GF...it's red! Seriously, though, I'd take the GF over the Specialized in a heartbeat if it's in decent condition. Every component is better. Ride it if you can. People talk about fit, but if you are starting out, you aren't even going to know what good fit feels like. So make sure you don't feel too cramped or too stretched out, although what used to feel stretched out to me now feels right. Get in the ballpark on size then you'll figure out what feels right.

  22. #22
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    Done some pic compare on bikeapedia and the GF is a 2008 not 2009, specs are diffrent of course but also has different style frame. I think even with GF better components the non used HardRock may be more dependable? How big of a factor is age with these bikes. Must count for something.

    Now comparing BikePedia -

  23. #23
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    I think it's even better now. The wheels are better than Hardrock. The fork is a Tora now which is significantly better than a Dart 2 and imho way better than the Suntour fork. To be honest, I've rarely had a new bike. I always buy used. If you can check it out in person, you can judge the condition for yourself. If they are in good condition, then yes, I'd take the 2 year older bike with better components. Specifically the wheels and fork make it worthwhile.

  24. #24
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    One model year makes a difference in the cutting edge of world class road bikes or downhill bikes, but in the budget level your bikes are in, not so much.

    All my points favoring the GF over the Spec in my earlier post still apply to this 2008 model.

    However, if your heart is leading you towards the Spec, get that one. Nothing worse than being stuck with a bike that was resentfully acquired, no matter what a comparison says.

  25. #25
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    It's still any ones game, but really starting to believe the price has to come down from $500 for the GF. Seller had it listed as '10 model but said it could be a '09. I discovered it was a '08 with the help of bikeapedia. $500 for the 10 would be a done deal no questions, 09 question. An '08 I feel he has to come down, especially when you consider the ware & tear. I feel like if he wanted 500 for a 2010 he should want less for a 2008, is that logical thinking when it comes to Mt. bikes?

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