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.
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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 19 of 19
  1. #1
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    "which bike" thread-Trek Mamba or Cannondale SL3

    Hi guys-

    Been reading like crazy and trying to figure out which bike to get as a first MTB that wont fall apart on me like the department store specials I've had in the past. I *think* I have it narrowed down to 2 units and they are literally $50 of one another price wise (Cannondale being more)

    It's between the Cannondale SL3(29er) or the Trek Mamba(29er) everything I read on here is that the shock on the Trek is much betterm and Cannondale seems to be known for making awesome Aluminum frames.

    If someone has the time to actually read the specs on both bikes and tell me their honest opinion on each, it would be much appreciated.

    Crank: (FC M430-8 on the dale) and a Shimano Alivio M4308 on the Trek.
    Fork: RST Deuce Coil 29, 80mm, lock-out (Dale) RockShox XC32 w/coil spring, 100mm
    Shifters:Shimano Alivio (on both)
    Brakes: Shimano M446 (on both)
    Front Derailleur: Shimano Acera (on both)
    Rear Deraillerur: Shimano Deore (on both)

    Much appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Can you ride them both...that would be the most deciding factor.

    Secondary would be components...in this case the Fork is the most obvious. RST makes a decent fork for an entry level (better than the Suntour XCT models IMO). But there is very little support and it uses a strait 1.5" steerer which means if you want to replace it you will most likely need to buy a new headset and stem too. The Rockshox on the Trek uses a more common 1 1/8" steerer which means if you choose to upgrade it will likely only require the fork. You are also more likely to find parts such as springs and damper parts for the Rockshox.

    Frame wise...Cannondale makes good aluminum frames but there is nothing "awesome" about them. There are good old 6061-T6 aluminum, nothing special there. They sand/grind their welds so they look smooth but there is no real advantage there either. The Trek also uses 6061-T6 and both are hyrdro formed and butted for weight reduction and performance. The Trek like most companies shows the welds.

  3. #3
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    im partial to the trek, but whichever you feel better on is the one to get.

    you might also consider:
    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Motobecane Fantom 29Elite
    which is right in that same price range.

  4. #4
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    I rode both those bikes and personnally enjoyed the Cannondale better. It was a better ride for me. Although, truth be told, I didn't end up getting either. I went with a FS Scott Spark 70.........and LOVE it!!!!!!! 29er is the rage, but a good FS bike for the price I paid, trumps all other factors.......and it rode great too.

  5. #5
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    I tried the '13 Mamba and it just felt strange to be honest. I wasn't crazy about it.

  6. #6
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    I wasn't crazy about the trek 29ers I tried either. I was dead set on the Sl3 myself until I found my Rush locally.

    Neither bike had that good of components, but the dale felt better and looked better.

    Either way they are good bikes. The fork is probably the weakest link on both.

  7. #7
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    I rode the trek cobia today and it definitely belt a bit smoother than the Mamba. Just too bad that now it's over that grand mark I was hoping to stay within.

  8. #8
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    Striker01, I was told that there os a large stock of Cobia's and they have had lackluster sales. Why not offer them a lower price, and if they don't budge, go to a different LBS. Mine was discounting them 15%.

  9. #9
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    Yeah, I'd really like the Cobia. This bike shop I was at would not budge at all on price. Not even to save me the sales taxes.

  10. #10
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    Go to a different LBS. The one by me was trying to give it away. Trek has sooooooo many of these bikes. Good luck!

  11. #11
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    I've yet to ride the Cannondale piece but I was wondering what the primary differences are between the Trek 29 er's and the Cannondale as far as ridding is concerned? I heard that the Cannondale is more suited for people with longer legs and a shorter torso?

  12. #12
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    I am not qualified to give you that answer, but I do know what 99% of people have said to me on this site when I was looking........ride them. Get the one that feels best to you. I am 5' 8" with short legs and a long torso. The only thing I had to do is go into different frame sizes on certain brands. It all came down to fit for me. The standover height that many people discuss seems to be an old guideline. I used this as a secondary decision point. I just felt more comfortable on some models versus others. I enjoyed more a race geometry where you are leaned over more, then an upright or relaxed geometry. Either bike you choose will be good, quality bikes.........as long as you use it to get out and ride!!! I hope this helped a little.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamspartacus View Post
    I am not qualified to give you that answer, but I do know what 99% of people have said to me on this site when I was looking........ride them. Get the one that feels best to you. I am 5' 8" with short legs and a long torso. The only thing I had to do is go into different frame sizes on certain brands. It all came down to fit for me. The standover height that many people discuss seems to be an old guideline. I used this as a secondary decision point. I just felt more comfortable on some models versus others. I enjoyed more a race geometry where you are leaned over more, then an upright or relaxed geometry. Either bike you choose will be good, quality bikes.........as long as you use it to get out and ride!!! I hope this helped a little.
    I hear you on the fit! I only rode the two Trek 29er's so far. The first was the Cobia in the 19 in frame and I felt like I was waaay too far stretched out over it. Maybe this is how I'm supposed to be; but I have pretty long legs and not so much torso. Got on the 17.5in mamba and felt more at home. Kinda weird because I'm 5 10- 5-11'

  14. #14
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    Go with whatever works for you. See if you can take the Mamba on a longer ride, that is, longer then around the parking lot.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Striker01 View Post
    Hi guys-

    Been reading like crazy and trying to figure out which bike to get as a first MTB that wont fall apart on me like the department store specials I've had in the past. I *think* I have it narrowed down to 2 units and they are literally $50 of one another price wise (Cannondale being more)

    It's between the Cannondale SL3(29er) or the Trek Mamba(29er) everything I read on here is that the shock on the Trek is much betterm and Cannondale seems to be known for making awesome Aluminum frames.

    If someone has the time to actually read the specs on both bikes and tell me their honest opinion on each, it would be much appreciated.

    Crank: (FC M430-8 on the dale) and a Shimano Alivio M4308 on the Trek.
    Fork: RST Deuce Coil 29, 80mm, lock-out (Dale) RockShox XC32 w/coil spring, 100mm
    Shifters:Shimano Alivio (on both)
    Brakes: Shimano M446 (on both)
    Front Derailleur: Shimano Acera (on both)
    Rear Deraillerur: Shimano Deore (on both)

    Much appreciated.
    I would ride a few more bikes, the highest rated "value 29ers" for 2012 were the Kona Kahuna, Fuji Nevada, Rocky Mountain Trailhead 29er, and the Scott Scale 29. In all honesty I don't think the component sets on those bikes look too impressive. Personally if I was picking between those two I would go with the Trek just because I don't like RST fork or the fact that it is 80mm vs 100mm. Hope this helps

  16. #16
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    I am also in the process of getting my first decent MTB. Which are the best rated mountain bikes under $1,000?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiveMD View Post
    I am also in the process of getting my first decent MTB. Which are the best rated mountain bikes under $1,000?
    some to look at:

    29er hardtail:
    cannondale trail sl3 29er
    kona kahuna
    trek mamba
    specialized rockhopper comp 29

    26er hardtail:
    cannondale trail sl2
    kona blast/cinder cone
    specialized rockhopper comp
    trek 4900
    "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads." -Back to the Future

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiveMD View Post
    I am also in the process of getting my first decent MTB. Which are the best rated mountain bikes under $1,000?
    Try this for a start..

    Best Mountain Bikes Under $1,000 - Updated For 2012 - BikeRadar
    ~ 2011 GT Avalanche 2.0
    ~ 1993 Diamondback Topanga
    ~ 2012 Diamondback Overdrive Expert

  19. #19
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    DiveMd, I agree with the list from Mk. Ultra, but you need to also put the Scott Scale 29er on there. I rode them all, except the Kahuna, and the Scott felt the best to me. Good luck with whateve you pick, but just get out there on the trails and enjoy!

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