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
    mtbr member
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    Buy New or Upgrade my bike?

    Im loving my Giant NRS3. Bought it used for $400 and used it in my first race a few weeks ago. It was only used for one summer and is in great condition.

    I have 2 races left this year and then I will be in a winter training program at the gym to get myself ready for the full race schedule next year.

    I am racing Citizen bracket in my 3 races this year (beginner level for the most part) and hope to move up to the Sport bracket (much more competetive) by the 4th race next year (there are 12 in all). Before that happens I will need to upgrade my bike or buy a new one.

    Heres what im looking at for upgrades to my NRS3:
    Fox or RockShox fork ($400 - $500 level)
    Juicy Disk Brakes ($200+)
    New Crankset and Cassete ($200)
    New Tires ($300)

    So about $1200 in upgrades. I paid $400 for the bike, putting me about $1600 total investment. This will leave me with a pretty nice full suspension setup.

    That being said the Trek guy who tuned my bike was adamant I shouldnt upgrade the NRS3 but put that money into a new "higher quality bike if you are taking this racing this even a bit serious." I was a bit put off by how much he was talking down my NRS3, especially in front of my girlfriend who was with me. I know he wants to sell me a new bike and its his job, but geez dude have some class.

    Anyways I did test ride a Stumpjumper 29er and I really liked it. So the idea of a 29er is pretty exciting to me.

    Id say my max budget next year for a new bike will be about $2000 if I went that route. How much better would a new $2000 HT be compared to my NRS3 (full suspension) fully upgraded?

    Thoughts?

    Thanks!!

  2. #2
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    After 3 yrs riding a HT I just upgraded to a FS bike, not sure I could ever go back to a HT bike but that is me and I am a heavy weight so it makes a difference to me. After riding my other bike for 3 yrs and racing it for one year I knew what I was looking for in a bike. I thought about doing what you are talking about but I did not have a frame that would have been up to the task since I learned early on that I was sold a bike that did not fit me and I fell pray to a salesman trying to unload old inventory. If the frame fits you and you like the bike, I would upgrade it and ride it for at least a year and after the racing season, with a little more experience under your belt you can go from there. The frame is the important part of this question.
    Still learning how to keep the rubber side down.

  3. #3
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    I too am a bigger guy. I am in pretty good shape yet my normal weight is always around 190#. I dont expect ill get much smaller than 185 and I do plan on adding upper body muscle in the offseason so I may be around 200.

    I really like the FS bike im on. It handles my weight and my riding style (very aggressive) very well.

    The Trek guy really made me feel like I was a complete noob competing on my NRS3, though I did pretty well for my first race. He basically said if I upgraded my bike id be "throwing money away on a 2nd rate bike."

    I did some research and it seems the NRS3 frame was pretty popular for builds. Some guys even use it to race over there more expensive HT's that they bought after the NRS3.

    Just dont want to waste my time spending $1000+ upgrading a bike and have everyone looking at me thinking "why did he even bother?"

  4. #4
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    Why dont you write your current spec list and the condition theyre in?

  5. #5
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    I can do that. Let me look up the factory specs and confirm that they are all the same. I dont think its been upgraded.

  6. #6
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    Are you wanting to look good on race day with a new bike or ride a bike that YOU like. I ride flats and 5-10's and get comments all the time but when it is all said and done, it is my choice to do that. Don't worry what others think, they are not riding your bike, you are.....
    Still learning how to keep the rubber side down.

  7. #7
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    Here it is:

    size 18.5"
    Frame: ALUXX SL double butted aluminum NRS suspension, integrated forged headtube, double integrated gussets, 3.75" rear travel
    Fork: RockShox Pilot SL, 3" travel
    Derailleur Front: Shimano Deore, Rear: Shimano Deore LX
    Derailleurshifters: Shimano Deore, 9-speed
    Cranks RaceFace: Ride XC ISIS, 22/32/44T
    Pedals: Shimano M505 Clipless
    Handlebar: Titec Hell Bent XC, 6061 butted
    Stem: Titec Fast Al
    Headset: Integrated Ahead
    Brakes: Avid SD3 direct pull
    Saddle: WTB Rocket V
    Seatpost: Titec X-Wing, 27.2
    Rims: Mavic X139, 32H
    Hubs: Alloy, sealed bearing, 32H, QR, cassette
    Tires: Hutchinson Python Air Light, 26x2.0
    Rearshock: RockShox Sid XC, 3.75" rear travel
    Cassette: Shimano HG-50 11-34T, 9-speed
    Spokes: Stainless Steel 14/15G

    The parts I have now are all the factory ones. The bike was not upgraded.
    Only descrepancy I can think of is my rear shock says FOX on it, not Rockshox.

    The bike comes with mountings for Disc Brakes.

    Everything is in good condition as the bike was used 1 year then sat in a guys storage shed. The only exception is the fork which loses air, the back tire is worn, and the rear and front cassetes have worn teeth.

    Thanks!

  8. #8
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    IIRC, that fork is the successor to the Jett, which I had in college, and the predecessor to the Dart. It pretty much sucks.

    The rest of it is fine.

    If the fork is a 3" fork, you're going to screw up the geometry of the bike going to something longer. Normally this is the part where I say, "bla bla bla subjective," but subjective to racing bikes is that slacking out the head angle is not good for your handling in and out of corners and up climbs. XC races are won by people who carry a lot of speed out of corners and climb like they're being chased. While I wouldn't say your bike is a bad bike, it's also old enough that technology has moved on enough to make upgrades more complicated, frequently more expensive (like with the disc brakes you want) and harder to move over to a new frame if it comes up.

    Take the winter to fix parts of your bike that are broken, and really tune it up. DO NOT spend $1600 on it. Don't replace the crank unless you've worn out a couple chain rings or a chain ring and the bottom bracket. Still don't replace the crank until you price fixing it. Newer cranks aren't enough better to make it a worthwhile upgrade over an older one that didn't suck in the first place.

    Demo lots of bikes. If your races are like my races, you'll probably get some opportunity at the remaining ones. And keep an eye on the major manufacturer's web sites, and your ear to the ground at your LBS, local riding clubs and forums, etc. Demos roll through my area all the time, and from what I've read, you've got a stronger MTB scene where you are.

    If, after demoing some new FS bikes and some new hardtails on actual trails, you still think throwing a lot of money at the NRS is a good idea, fine. But you can get an Anthem for $2000... Keep in mind that you're one broken suspension link away from shopping for a new bike anyway.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
    DynoDon
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    Rather then throwing money at an older bike that may break, having no warranties, I'd put the money into a new bike, ride/test as many as you can, rent/test ride ones you like on the trails you ride, or in a race, a trail bike is not a race bike, example, Epic is a lot different bike from the Stumpjumper, you can race a SJ, but if racing is what you want to do, a race bike will give better results, spend as much as you can afford, upgrades get expensive fast, look for demo bikes, they have full warranties, they also come at a better price.
    The gym, and riding a real bike have little in common, riding dirt roads in winter, the trails as much as you can, just dress warm, you'll be surprised how many days you can get in on frozen trails, or how good the ride is in light snow cover, maybe you'll find a trail that gets broomed in the winter, we have one in Michigan, good luck on your racing.
    Four wheels transport the body,

    Two wheels transport the soul !!!!

  10. #10
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    i think it will be cheaper to upgrade, but I do not know how your frame is. because what if it breaks or maybe you have no warranty? or does it have lifetime warranty?

    if money is not a problem, new bikes rule =D

  11. #11
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    Im thinking of putting a down payment on a new bike this month, with the expectations of paying it off by next spring.

    As for my current bike, I think I will upgrade the fork and the tires and keep it as a second bike.

    Thanks for all the input!

  12. #12
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    Speaking of upgrading. I just bought my first MTB / Comfort rider a couple weekends ago. It is a Diamondback Wildwood Citi Classic. Bought it for $250. I am a big guy. I have been thinking of returning the bike and buying something in the $600.00 range. But as I went to the LBS. They said it would probably be best to just upgrade the bike with a cassette hub, thorn resistant tubes and better pedals. It all sounds good to me as it is a huge savings, but I just wanted to see what your thoughts on this subject might be. The owner of the shop really seems to be a straight forward guy that could have probably easily taken me for a money ride.

  13. #13
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    Well theres no way a LBS here is gonna recommend I upgrade; they are all about selling new bikes. They are willing to let me put money down on a 2011 model and make payments on it during the winter. Im thinking this is my best route.

  14. #14
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    I was going to recommend that or get a 0 percent interest credit card balance transfer.

    Really not worth spending much on the current bike.

    Dont change out the cassette/chain rings/chain unless theyre skipping. And if you only change one or two of these things you may start it skipping on you.

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