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.
Results 1 to 14 of 14
  1. #1
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    Bike suggestions $4000 range

    Hi All,
    I have owned a mountain bike since my 1990 Trek Antelope 820 . That being said, It's always been a cross training activity for me, and If I rode 10 times a year I was lucky. However, in the last year mtbing unexpectedly became my activity of choice and I found myself riding 40+ miles a week. I'm riding a Kona Kahuna, and although I'm happy with the bike, If I put in more than 15 miles or so my back is screaming. I'm 45 years old and have put my back through the ringer skateboarding, surfing, rock and ice climbing and mountain biking. I'm in the market now for a FS bike with a budget of about $4000, I live in NE Connecticut so I think a XC FS setup would be fine, but I'm open to all suggestions.

  2. #2
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    Get 2. A fatbike and something fs in the 5-6" travel range so you have the right tool for year round riding in a variety of conditions and terrain.

  3. #3
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    Ibis Ripley or Intense Spider Comp. Trek Fuel Ex also.
    The Kahuna has a 7000 series aluminum frame that is very stiff.
    If you went with a carbon ht with great engineered damping, wide aluminum rims, high volume tires and a compliant seat post you would be looking at an option both light and much more comfortable than an aluminum hard tail. Same with a titanium hard tail. Both give you trail feel lost with a rear suspension.
    The Titus Fireline is a titanium frameset for 950. I like the Trek Superfly 9.6-- it has road bike damping and quick handling.

  4. #4
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    I'm one state north of you, about the same age w/ a similarly beaten back.
    Highly recommend a full suspension in the 'trail' category; something with a little more comfort factor through the rocks and roots than a typical XC race type ride would provide. Very little stuff around here where you'd be happier on a HT IMHO. In your price range, you've got a ton of choices. See if you can demo a Specialized Stumpy EVO from a shop around so you can get a good baseline feel for what a good bike in this category rides like - they're great all around bikes for NE trails, though 29" wheels can feel a bit sluggish in the technical stuff, depending on your riding style.

    I wouldn't waste my money on a fat bike. They're really only useful in very specific conditions; a regular bike does fine on the vast majority of the stuff that people seem to ride them in. Kind of a trendy type purchase more than anything IMO - I rarely see anybody riding them in conditions that can't be handled by a regular bike with high volume tires run at lower pressure.
    Sinister Bikes
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  5. #5
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    Bike suggestions $4000 range

    I am an older rider with a bad back also. I have found that a slack geometry bike with a riser bar and a short stem to be the answer to keeping pressure off my back while riding. I use a Trek Stache so my recommendation would be the FS brother of this bike, the Rumblefish.


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  6. #6
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    Thanks for all the great responses, Trek Superfly 100 AL Pro is definitely on my list, and I'm with you on the fat bike thing. Connecticut doesn't get enough snow to justify the purchase IMO.

  7. #7
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    Demo and test ride anything that you can get your hands on.

  8. #8
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    I like my Kona Hei Hei. I think the '14 DL is at your price point.

    Also, revisit your bike fit. I'm about ten years younger than you, but I definitely notice it when I ride a bike that's set up wrong. Here's an article I like.
    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm

    Not to dissuade you from going FS. Between moving to the rockier, rootier trails I'm riding now, having a bit more disposable income, and the improvements in FS, I chose to make the move myself. They can be a lot smoother.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
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    I have been looking at getting a Turner Flux. 27.5" 120mm. It seems like a jack of all trades bike. The Expert-Trail version goes for $3500.. Unfortunately, you might have a hard time finding one to demo.
    Killing it with close inspection.

  10. #10
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    My $0.02: I would not buy a bike until you test ride (in the dirt) at least 6 bikes in the style of riding you intend to do. I would also try a few you are just a little curious about (they might surprise you). $4,000 is a lot of cheddar for us to spend for you when we don't really know you. Right now, the 27.5 and 29ers are hot. Ride several of each size as they are far from all being alike. Trying to characterize a bike solely by it's wheel size is a mistake IMHO. There are 26" bikes that steer like a dump truck, and 29ers that carve like a hot knife through butter, and vice-versa.

    There are many different bikes out there, and many of them offer their own pros and cons. If you're going to drop $4K, I think you should be patient and take your time. Bike shopping is fun, and you don't want buyer's remorse to the tune of 4-large.

    As for your back issues, a FS may or may not be the prescription for relieving the pain. Could just be a setup issue, or not. For me, a simple saddle positioning adjustment made a world of difference. Now that I have enough experience with bike setup, I know how much difference small incremental adjustments can make when applied in the right place. A proper fitting might be a wise investment to see what works best for you, regardless of what bike you get.

  11. #11
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    +1 for the Stumpy Evo. I've been on one for 6months, and my back really thinks me. I ride in descend mode usually and it's like a lazy boy on the trail. Might be overkill for the trails I ride, but it saves my back for the three hour rides. Got mine for under 3k, which saves budget for new wheels, brakes, etc. I'm about 4k with XT brakes, hope hubs with Stan flows, and nice pedals. It climbs good enough and kills the going down parts.

  12. #12
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    I have to agree with jeffj about the fit. Small adjustments make a huge difference, be it the saddle position, handle bar rise, grips, etc. That stuff all comes into play. I had a Stumpjumper FSR 26" wheel that rode like a marshmallow and just ripped the trails. I also had a Titus Racer X 29" wheel that rode a bit stiffer, but ripped the trails just as much. Once I got both of those bikes dialed in, I felt like I was unstoppable on the trail.

    If I had 4 grand to drop on a bike, I think that I would do a lot of investigating, and as much test riding as I could.
    '13 FELT TK3 48:15
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  13. #13
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    Bike suggestions $4000 range

    I'll provide another voice agreeing with what jeffj wrote, especially his first paragraph. You probably don't know yet exactly what YOU want, and it will take some experience to get a feel for it. It's fun- enjoy it.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

    Riding in Helena? Everything you need to know, right here.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for all the great info, I definitely plan on demoing anything I can park my butt on. It's interesting to hear about other bikes I wasn't considering or even aware of. I'm still not sure If XC suspension or if trail suspension is the way I should go. There are just way too many choices!

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