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 bike Fuji Mt Fuji Pro vs Access 9.7 29er?

    Stopped by Performance Bike shop on a lunch break and was taking a look around. Guy recommended me a 2009 Fuji Mt Fuji Pro Carbon Fiber (21") bike that was on sale for $1299. He said it was a very good price for the specs. But I've been leaning towards 29" bikes after reading about them and they showed me an 2010 Access 9.7 (19") frame bike for $899. I went back after work and test rode both of them in parking lot. I think I fit both bikes comfortably. I'm 6'2 with 32" inseam, and havent been riding for about 10yrs. I plan on doing just light bike trails through forest preserves so Im not sure which bike I should get.

    The Fuji felt very maneuverable, but it also seemed i was hunched down more (or maybe its because I haven't been on a bike for 10 yrs?). The Access 29er was a bike I could sit up more and it feels like a easy cruising around bike, it also seemed a lot faster than the Fuji.

    I expected the Access bike to weigh a lot more, but it wasnt that much heavier than the Carbon one so I'm not sure which bike to really go with. Is the Fuji bike worth the extra $300 over the Access Bike?

    The Fuji bike is defiantly at the top of my budget, and I don't intend on upgrading either bike if I get them, so I'm not sure if I should spend a little more upfront now.

    Specs of the bikes
    Mt Fuji Pro
    Main frame Monoque C-4 carbon with custom uni-directional carbon strands, Integrated aluminum cupped head tube, Double water bottle mounts.
    Rear triangle C-4 carbon stays with shaped ride tuned Energy Transfer Chainstay, cold forged dropout with replaceable hanger and CNC Disc mount only option
    Fork Rock Shox Recon SL Air, 80mm Travel w/ PopLoc Remote
    Crankset NEW Shimano SLX, 22/32/44T Alloy Outer Ring
    Bottom bracket Shimano Exterior Bearing System
    Pedals Xpedo MF-3 Clipless
    Front derailleur NEW Shimano SLX, 34.9mm
    Rear derailleur NEW Shimano SLX Shadow
    Shifters NEW Shimano SLX Rapid Fire, 27-speed
    Cassette Shimano CS-HG50, 11-34T 9-speed
    Chain KMC HG-73
    Front hub NEW Shimano SLX Sealed Bearing Centerlock Disc, 32H
    Rear hub NEW Shimano SLX Sealed Bearing Centerlock Disc, 32H
    Spokes 14G Stainless Steel
    Rims Mavic XM-317 Disc, 32H
    Tires Continental SpeedKing 26 X 2.1" Foldable
    Tube CST Presta
    Brake set NEW Shimano SLX Hydraulic Disc, 180/160mm Centerlock rotor
    Brake levers NEW Shimano SLX
    Headset Ritchey Logic Zero Comp 1 1/8" Press Fit Integrated, 30mm spacers
    Handlebar Fuji Pro Riser 15mm double butted aluminum 31.8mm
    Stem Fuji Pro Alloy oversize, 1 1/8"
    Tape/grip Fuji Lock-On Kraton rubber
    Saddle WTB Custom Rocket V Comp
    Seat post Fuji Pro forged Alloy micro adjust, 350mm
    Seat clamp Fuji Superlite Alloy, 34.9mm Laser Etched
    Weight, lb./kg. 25.50/11.57
    2010 Access XCL 9.7 29" Mountain Bike
    BOTTOM BRACKET: TruVativ Giga X Pipe XR
    BRAKES: Avid Elixir 5 Hydraulic Disc w/ 185mm front, 160mm rear
    CASSETTE: SRAM PG-950, 11/34T, 9-speed
    CHAIN: KMC HG73 1/2" 11/128" 106L
    CRANKSET: TruVativ FireX 3.3 aluminum, 22/32/44T
    FORK: Rock Shox Tora SL 100mm travel
    FRAME: 6061 Aluminum
    FRONT DERAILLEUR: SRAM X.7, 34.9, top-pull
    GRIPS/TAPE: Velo Oury
    HANDLEBAR: MTB, butted aluminum, 710mm, 25mm rise
    HEADSET: Cane Creek Semi-integrated
    LEVERS: Avid Elixir 5 Hydraulic Disc
    PEDALS: Wellgo WPD-801, chromoly axle
    REAR DERAILLEUR: SRAM X.7, long cage
    REAR SHOCK: NA
    SADDLE: Velo
    SEATPOST: 7075 Aluminum, 31.6, 350L
    SHIFTERS: SRAM X.7 Trigger
    STEM: Forged Alloy 4-bolt, 7 rise, EXT:15"=90mm,17"=100mm,19"=110mm, 21/23"=120mm, 31.8
    TIRES: Schwalbe Albert HS 29 x 2.1"
    WHEELSET: Rims: Mavic TN 719 Disc, 29", 32H; Hubs: CNC alloy, disc, sealed, 32H

  2. #2
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    I made a comparative spreadsheet and listed all components. The boxes shaded green favor the bike whose column they are in, the red boxes are opposite that. Yellow shaded boxes are rated neutral. These are just my opinion and not necessarily what others would rate them.

    I rated the Recon as better than the Tora, but it's only because it has tradionally been a notch above the Tora. But the last couple years, the line between these two models has been blurred. The difference used to be that Toras always had steel stanchions and Recons always had aluminum stanchions. Now, you see some Recons that have steel stanchions so I don't really know what separates them anymore.

    The Recon fork on the Fuji is 80mm travel and the Tora is 100mm travel. If one has Motion Control damping (and I have no idea if one or both do, but I doubt it), I would rate that fork higher regardless of which one it is. An since the Fuji only has 80mm travel and the Access has 100mm travel, I could possibly make a case for that being a better fork because I prefer 100mm over 80mm travel (but that is me, YMMV).

    The ones that are shaded yellow are components that I rated as even or possibly didn't know enough about to rate one over another.

    I did this, not so much to offer my opinion, but to offer the process as a way to help you come to a decision. Of course you have to weight the fact that one costs $300 more than the other and what that means to you. And then maybe one just makes you smile more than the other.

    IMHO, there isn't anything on either one that I would consider a deal breaker and I don't see anything is really head and shoulders above that of the other.

    I have an Access frame that I built up thinking I might upgrade the frame down the road, but as it turns out, I really like the ride of the bike and now have no plans to change frames. The Fuji might be a great riding frame, but I don't really know a thing about it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Which bike Fuji Mt Fuji Pro vs Access 9.7 29er?-fuji_001.jpg  


  3. #3
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    My two cents; first, there are far more Access XCL 9r's out there than Mt Fuji Pro's which hasn't been a big seller for any number of reasons. Personally, I'd much rather have a 29er hardtail than a 26er. I too am 6'2" with a 32-inch inseam. I've ridden both bikes and very much enjoy my 19-inch Access XCL 9r while the Fuji was just okay to my taste.

    Second; there is a HUGE difference between crash damage on an aluminum frame as compared to damage on a carbon frame - dings vs cracks. Not withstanding any warranty, the Access frame can be replaced for $99 on sale while the Fuji carbon frame...?

    Third; LOVE the PopLoc on the Fuji but the SLX brakes are a little underwhelming for the rest of the spec and carbon frame. Seems like XT M775 brakes would be a better fit but then Fuji put all their money into the expensive carbon frame.

    Fourth; either bike is overkill for light trail riding so spending an extra $300 for carbon-framed overkill seems unnecessary. I know nothing though so freely disregard anything I've written that you don't agree with.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj
    I made a comparative spreadsheet and listed all components. The boxes shaded green favor the bike whose column they are in, the red boxes are opposite that. Yellow shaded boxes are rated neutral. These are just my opinion and not necessarily what others would rate them.

    I rated the Recon as better than the Tora, but it's only because it has tradionally been a notch above the Tora. But the last couple years, the line between these two models has been blurred. The difference used to be that Toras always had steel stanchions and Recons always had aluminum stanchions. Now, you see some Recons that have steel stanchions so I don't really know what separates them anymore.

    The Recon fork on the Fuji is 80mm travel and the Tora is 100mm travel. If one has Motion Control damping (and I have no idea if one or both do, but I doubt it), I would rate that fork higher regardless of which one it is. An since the Fuji only has 80mm travel and the Access has 100mm travel, I could possibly make a case for that being a better fork because I prefer 100mm over 80mm travel (but that is me, YMMV).

    The ones that are shaded yellow are components that I rated as even or possibly didn't know enough about to rate one over another.

    I did this, not so much to offer my opinion, but to offer the process as a way to help you come to a decision. Of course you have to weight the fact that one costs $300 more than the other and what that means to you. And then maybe one just makes you smile more than the other.

    IMHO, there isn't anything on either one that I would consider a deal breaker and I don't see anything is really head and shoulders above that of the other.

    I have an Access frame that I built up thinking I might upgrade the frame down the road, but as it turns out, I really like the ride of the bike and now have no plans to change frames. The Fuji might be a great riding frame, but I don't really know a thing about it.
    Thanks for the spreadsheet and info.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clones123
    My two cents; first, there are far more Access XCL 9r's out there than Mt Fuji Pro's which hasn't been a big seller for any number of reasons. Personally, I'd much rather have a 29er hardtail than a 26er. I too am 6'2" with a 32-inch inseam. I've ridden both bikes and very much enjoy my 19-inch Access XCL 9r while the Fuji was just okay to my taste.

    Second; there is a HUGE difference between crash damage on an aluminum frame as compared to damage on a carbon frame - dings vs cracks. Not withstanding any warranty, the Access frame can be replaced for $99 on sale while the Fuji carbon frame...?

    Third; LOVE the PopLoc on the Fuji but the SLX brakes are a little underwhelming for the rest of the spec and carbon frame. Seems like XT M775 brakes would be a better fit but then Fuji put all their money into the expensive carbon frame.

    Fourth; either bike is overkill for light trail riding so spending an extra $300 for carbon-framed overkill seems unnecessary. I know nothing though so freely disregard anything I've written that you don't agree with.
    I know both bikes are over kill, but I want to be in a bike that will be nice enough incase I get more serious about riding. And i agree that PopLoc thing on the Fuji was a very nice feature, are you suppose to be adjusting the front suspension while riding? If so I didnt feel that comfortable reaching down to the fork on the access to adjust while riding.

    And do you know why is it that the Fuji doesnt sell that well? I have been searching online for reviews of that bike and barely found any. While the Access there were alot more reviews and owners floating around.

    I also read that Fuji had lifetime warranty on their frames, but that probably doesn't include damage from crashes.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bbc84
    I know both bikes are over kill, but I want to be in a bike that will be nice enough incase I get more serious about riding. And i agree that PopLoc thing on the Fuji was a very nice feature, are you suppose to be adjusting the front suspension while riding? If so I didnt feel that comfortable reaching down to the fork on the access to adjust while riding.

    And do you know why is it that the Fuji doesnt sell that well? I have been searching online for reviews of that bike and barely found any. While the Access there were alot more reviews and owners floating around.

    I also read that Fuji had lifetime warranty on their frames, but that probably doesn't include damage from crashes.
    I have a lockout on my fork, but rarely use it. If I am going to climb a long smooth hill (or paved road), I can reach down easily to flip a lever. PopLock lets you do it from a remote on the bar, but the Tora still has a lever to do it on the top of the crown/fork leg.
    ===============================
    Here is another route to consider: Build your own. Sitting here at home killing time this morning before I need to get going, so I put this together as an example.



    A couple things to note about building your own.

    You can put more money toward things that matter to you.

    In this case I found a set of Easton wheels for a substantial discount that would be a definite step up from what you'll get on either of the bikes your looking at.

    The saddle is one I persoanlly like and would probably swap out to as stock saddles are usually donated by the Marquis deSade in an effort to get you upgrade .

    The brakes are mechanical, but I actually like BB7's a lot, so (to me) it would be somewhere I would be perfectly happy to save some coin that I could direct elsewhere.

    The LX cranks are IMHO a step up from what you would find on either bike.

    Bars and stem are at least as nice, maybe nicer.

    The Access is currently selling for $199*, not $99, so if you wait until it drops again, you can svae $100 from the total shown here. Or, you can get last year's Sette Razzo for $179 or this year's Razzo for $249 (from PricePoint).

    * I think they may have it this high in anticipation of the new 2011 Access frames arriving soon. They will start out with a similarly high price, and then put the old Access frames back down at least a little more in line with where they have been for quite a while. Or maybe I could be full of dookie , time will tell.

    I have Shimano 520 SPD pedals listed which are my preference. YMMV.

    I left a tire allowance of $50 each for front and rear. This allows you to get a tire that works best in your area and you might even find them for less.

    I have the Tora fork listed, but if you can wait to find the Access for $99, you can put theat $100 onto the fork budget number and PP has the Recon for that price.

    The rest of the parts (to me at least) are at least comparable to what you'll find on the other bikes.

    Prices do not include shipping, which is free on some items and I tried to keep the number of vendors low so shipping could be combined.

    If nothing else, it will give you an idea of the value you can get buying a bike whole vs. building your own.

    ** Yeah, I know..... Geeking out on the spreadsheets here lately

  7. #7
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    That sounds all good, but I would prefer not to build my own bike especially my first one.

  8. #8
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    I have GT Zaskar carbon and an entry level GT Outpost. Both bikes are 26" not 29". In my opinion, I like Aluminum frame much better than the carbon. Yes, Carbon is much lighter, maybe stronger, and has bling factor. But, on the other hand, I feel the carbon frame is too stiff for me and it always makes annoying noise every time wires hit frame. My suggestion is do a demo, both materials have plus and minus, and each bike has its character. However, if you are serious about biking, spend more money now than later since upgrading parts can be very costly. Again, that's only my opinion, I can't really compare Zaskar and Outpost since both bike have different components.

  9. #9
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    Seeing that you are not going to hit the trails every weekend or 3 times a week, why not check out other brands.

    Cannondale F series or now, they call it SL
    Specialized Rock Hopper
    Trek 6000

    All those bikes are attainable for $1000 <

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by skewe
    Seeing that you are not going to hit the trails every weekend or 3 times a week, why not check out other brands.

    Cannondale F series or now, they call it SL
    Specialized Rock Hopper
    Trek 6000

    All those bikes are attainable for $1000 <

    Thanks Ill take a look

  11. #11
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    The price they hang on the bike it not what you pay. It;s like buying a car.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by skewe
    The price they hang on the bike it not what you pay. It;s like buying a car.

    Hmm didnt know that you can bargain like cars.

  13. #13
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    Here are a few pointers
    -Get last year's model. I got mine at 30% off when i bought my 2010 model bike in oct 2010. Remember, they are already selling 2011 then. Yeah, it is 2010 model but it's not like a car or airplane.
    -Comparison shop, do your homework
    -Find LSB perks. like do they do 1 yr free tune up vs lifetime?

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