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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Thread: Buying advise

  1. #1
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    Buying advise

    Back in the days, on my mid teens, I used to do lots of mountain biking and loved it, unfortunately(or fortunately, depending on how you view things) life got in the way, work, marriage, kids, etc.....
    I recently moved to Colorado and I'm dying to get back on the saddle, so after doing some research and reading a few websites, forums and magazines, I'm more confused than ever
    I will be doing a mix of riding, so I think an AM bike would be my best fit. Talking about fit, what would be the ideal size for me?? I'm 5'7 tall with a 31in inseam, I've read size 17-18 or medium.
    Wheel size, 26", 27.5", 29"???, I'm going to try them out and see what I feel comfortable with.
    My budget is around $1000, I plan on buying at REI since I got about $200 in gift cards but if there's something better within that budget that you guys recommend I have no problem jumping ship. Reading this forum led me to sites like NASHBAR and BikesDirect.com but I honestly don't know what I'm looking at, some of the prices seem incredibly low but are they really GOOD bargains??? or is it just low priced crap??(walyworld bikes come to mind)

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    It says I need 10 posts to post links, so here's #10

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    So here's the bikes on the REI website that are more or less within my budget:

    Marin Palisades Trail 29er:
    Marin Palisades Trail 29er Bike - 2012 at REI.com

    Diamondback Overdrive Comp 29er:
    Diamondback Overdrive Comp 29er Bike - 2013 at REI.com

    Scott Scale 970 29er:
    Scott Scale 970 29er Bike - 2013 at REI.com

    Cannondale Trail SL 2 29er:
    Cannondale Trail SL 2 29er Bike - 2013 at REI.com

    Please disregard the fact that they are all 29ers, its only for comparison sake since I have yet to try a 29er, I would just like to know which is better and why??

    Also whats good in this sites???
    Save up to 60% off Mountain Bikes, All Mountain Bikes, Full Suspension SRAM MTN and Shimano Mountain Bikes and Hardtail Front Suspension and 29er Mountain Bikes from Bikesdirect.com
    Nashbar - Mountain Bikes

    any other places to look for bikes???






    Edit, I've read this article which has been posted here a few times:
    Best Mountain Bikes Under $1,000 - Updated For 2012 - BikeRadar

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    Welcome to the forums and welcome back to mountain biking. As you can tell, much has changed while you were gone. You're already on the right road with that article about best bikes for under $1K. There's a lot of different categories nowadays, and that BikeRadar site you found has lots of great articles explaining differences between this or that bike, wheel sizes, frame geometry, fork, etc. All these subjects are also debated endlessly on these forums.

    Here's some more reading to give you an overview of the modern bike scene:
    What Is A 29er - BikeRadar
    Shootout: Wheel Wars 29 vs 27.5 vs 26 | News | mountain-bike-action

    A no-brainer bike category for you would indeed be an all-mountain bike, which these days means a full suspension bike with around 160mm of travel, slacker heat tube frame angle (means it's slightly less responsive but more stable than historical mountain bikes), and around 30 lbs. They cover the broadest spectrum of performance, so they can climb and descend all day.

    Be sure to check your local bike shop too, besides REI. Even check Sports Chalet if you're near one. For your first bike, I recommend buying it locally and in person, and not blindly from the internet.

    As for online retailers, JensonUSA and Pricepoint have good reputations and are both based in California. Nashbar of Ohio (I think) is sort of a mixed bag. Some people have had horrible experiences with them. I've personally been buying from them for years, and everything has gone smoothly. But they don't sell what folks would consider - for lack of a better term - teir 1 bike brands. Their inventory isn't as "performance" oriented as Jenson and Pricepoint.

    For your height, I would put you between a medium and a small frame. And it's hard to say which one, because it will depend on the manufacturer. You'll have to stand over one to know, or see what other people say who have the bike you're interested in.

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    OP, those are all XC bikes. Not that there's anything wrong with that - that's what I ride.

    Since you've been away, the bike industry has invented a bunch of new terms. They correspond, more or less, to different riding styles. I can give you my impressions, and hopefully that will be helpful.

    XC - much like the bikes you remember. I question the mountain biker-ness of someone who doesn't have fun descending, but I think of XC as riding trails (or fire roads) in both directions, mostly with wheels on the ground, and without a lot of man-made obstacles. The bikes themselves often give up a little descending stability to be faster on the way up. Can be competition bikes for XC racing, which drives a lot of their design at the high end. They're often also people's first mountain bike, especially when their decision is somewhat budget-driven.

    Trail - similar riding style, more forgiving equipment.

    Freeride - all about stunts, air time, man-made obstacles, etc. They can be good bikes for lift-served downhill days.

    AM - smaller and lighter than freeride, can be ridden to the tops of things, but it's not what they're about. Great bikes for people who aren't shuttling but probably use a fire road for most climbing and want to hit everything in sight that could be a kicker or a drop or a wall ride or whatever.

    Downhill - pretty self-explanatory. They can be competition bikes for downhill racing.

    There are a few special-purpose bikes too, but I think this more-or-less covers the main range of mountain bikes.

    At $1000, retail pricing doesn't give you much. A Novara on sale might, though.

    You can do well in a used bike for that, however. So that's something to think about.

    I think your height puts you on the cusp between small and medium in most brands. Test riding a bunch of bikes is a real value-added in buying locally, IMO. If you're having a hard time figuring out sizing, try test riding some really small or really large bikes, to get more of a feel for too small and too big.

    Give some thought also to the kind of riding you really want to be doing.

    Good luck!
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    The Suntour fork on the 970 limits that bike to light trail and bike path use. You will go to tougher trails pretty quick so a good fork on a hard tail is the critical component. If you can find a bike with a dual air RockShox Reba(2012) you would be set for a much longer time. There could be some on BikeDirect or BikeIsland or you can get one from Airborne with a new Goblin while stock lasts. February bikes will not have dual air. They have the best customer service so you can call and talk about sizing.
    Airborne Bicycles. NEW Goblin

    Right now there are some good deals out there--like Performance Bikes carbon 29er Access Stealth LTD for 999. 31-0514 Warehouse does not list a 17 but my shop Bloomfield Hills MI has one and so check locally. Just needs a Reba or Manitou Tower Pro off ebay.
    Access Stealth LTD 29er Mountain Bike - 29er Mountain Bikes











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    Last edited by eb1888; 12-21-2012 at 09:12 AM.

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    It's a lot cheeper in the long run to buy a bike that is equiped for how you are useing it that upgrade something not quite right. Deciding what and how you are going to use it are a lot harder. Test ride ,demo, borrow,talk ask questions .If you like riding you will still most likely want something esle in a year or two.

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    You are going to have a lot of components tossed at you on these bikes and that's going to be the most obvious difference you'll see.

    For that reason, it would be worthwhile to browse component manufacturer websites and catalogs to see how those individual items are priced to get an idea for what's "better".

    All of those bikes you linked are good, but there's a few hundred $$$ of difference in the price. The Marin started off as nearly a $1400 bike and the Diamondback falls right about $1,000. You can see a pretty major difference when you note that a couple of the bikes have Rockshox Recon forks and the Diamondback and the Scott have Suntour forks. I wouldn't say the Suntours are only good for bike paths and light trails. They can be ridden on real trails, but cheaper suspension forks are going to be less adjustable for your ride preferences, they are oftentimes less serviceable for long term use, and they usually don't "feel" as effective (that "feel" thing is hard to grasp when you're new. It's something you'll develop over time).

    Drivetrain parts are less of a concern, but a lot of manufacturers like to put flashier drivetrain parts on a bike because a lot of new riders only know those component lines. Thing is, drivetrain parts wear out and break so you have to replace them. A lot of riders who have budgets ride things in the Deore-XT range for Shimano (XT being less budget-minded) and in the X7-X9 range for SRAM (with X9 being less budget-minded). Most of us cannot afford to be putting XTR and X0-XX stuff on our bikes when it wears out. There's only marginal improvements to be had here, anyway.

    In the price range you're looking at, you're not going to find wheels that are anything special. They're all going to be cheap.

    Brakes are a bit tougher to figure out. The biggest thing you'll need to figure out will be whether a bike you're looking at has single-piston or dual-piston hydraulic disc brakes. Single piston hydros work fundamentally the same as mechanical disc brakes. One pad is fixed (and you have to adjust it for wear) while your lever operates the other pad. Single piston hydraulic brakes are really not any sort of improvement over good mechanical discs. Dual piston hydraulic brakes are better because both pads move when you squeeze your lever. These also adjust automatically for pad wear. Based on my experience in a shop, I can tell you that not everyone in the back building bikes can set up disc brakes worth a squat. If the brakes of the bikes on the sales floor rub, that's why. Get one of the more skilled mechanics to adjust them properly before going on a test ride. Some brands/models of brakes have a tendency to make a lot of noise when you're braking. See the "Avid turkey warble" thread as an example.

    This is where it can be a benefit to try out bikes that are way more expensive and way less expensive than your price point. You can compare higher level components to lower level components. You can feel what a good brake feels like and what a cheap brake feels like. They will both stop you, but the real answer is in the details.

    Sites like Bikesdirect and Bikeisland are not the deals they appear to be. You are getting exactly what you pay for. They like to inflate the "compare to" prices to make their bikes look better than their competition. When in reality, the bikes they compare best to are priced much more closely. Those retailers bank on inexperienced riders being unaware of that. When you buy at a bike shop, the price you pay does account for the fact that you got to test ride that bike and speak face-to-face with employees at the shop. It accounts for any extras you might get like free service, accessory discounts, and stuff like that. When you buy a bike online, they don't offer those things so they just chop the price off the bike itself. That's really the only difference.

  9. #9
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    Lots of good advice so far.

    I would stay away from the Diamond back. A friedn had one and it rode more like a department store bike. Definitely not trail ready IMO. He ended up destroying it and REI took it back no questions asked. He got an entry level Marin instead. Much better bike.

    As others have said though you need to get a bike that matches your riding. You mention AM. You probably mean more XC/Trail. Dropping all the names and abbreviations I suspect you want a bike you can take on a trail in CO and be able to handle the trails. In CO though that could mean a FS bike which you might as well forget at the $1000 price point.

    At that price point your best bet is going to be a 29er hardtail. Demo as many as you can. Don't rush to buy on urge, do your research, ask questions, and make an informed decision.

    I agree with almost everything that Nate says but disagree with a few points. 1 Drive train is very important, especially in terrain where you shift often. Deore/x5 good, SLX/XT/X7 better and will suffice for starting out. I'd skip anything less than Deore/X5.

    Also while I wouldn't pay attention to bike directs MSRP do compare their price to other bikes in the same category. I got my wife $1000 29er from them and it had by far better components than anything else I could get in that price range. I probably would have gone with the Airborne Goblin for a bit more but they were out of her size at the time with no new ones coming in anytime soon. I'm totally happy with the BD purchase, more importantly she is. That said, I am handy with a wrench and know my way around a bike so assembly was not an issue. I did have one warranty claim for a broken remote lockout. They replaced it quicker than my LBS was able to replace a warranty claim brake on my Santa Cruz TB. In their defense though they did provide me with a loaner so I didn't loose any saddle time. While I am capable of doing all my own wrenching I got lifetime tuneups/maintenance from LBS. Which is nice if I am busy or lazy.

    So all things to consider. Pros and Cons both ways. My best advice is by as much bike up front that you can afford. Get the bike you want, and one that is appropriate for where you will be riding, even if that means saving up and waiting a bit longer. Budget for helmet, tools, etc.

    If you really get back into it, be prepared to want to spend a lot more money

    Oh and size, it all depends on the bike. You are pretty much on the cusp between small and medium, but I'd say medium for most bikes.
    Sent via my heady vibes from the heart of Pisgahstan

  10. #10
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    ...and most important, make sure the bike fits you. Discomfort during long trails is a joy killer. Go test ride some demos - 15 minutes or more each bike. A 3-minute spin round the block won't tell you where your aches and pains will come from on an extended ride.

    -S

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    For a $1,000 bike, he should not be encountering much Acera bike path componentry. All of the bikes he linked to didn't have anything cheaper than Deore/X5. Anything he encounters in the price range should be reasonably trail worthy. Will it hold up to heavy abuse from lots of air and plowing through rock gardens? For the XC oriented bikes posted, no...but neither would a $2,000 XC bike or a $3,000 XC bike. I had a $500 bike with Deore drivetrain and most of those components lasted 10 years of trail riding. The rear derailleur broke because it caught a stick (can happen to any derailleur) and the shifters wore out. The front derailleur was still going when I sold it. the parts worked well and reliably for a long time.

    "far better components" is pretty relative. BD cheaps more on the frame than many manufacturers, and also more on the wheels than a lot of manufacturers in order to give you better flashy drivetrain components and marginally better suspension. As I said, you are getting exactly what you paid for whether you notice it or not.

    Warranty issues through your bike shop are typically referred to the manufacturer unless it's something super common. Hence the longer wait time. That varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Bigger retailers can afford to have spares on hand. I wouldn't make a decision based on that alone. If you have to send something back, you'll have to pay for it. Keep that in mind.

  12. #12
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    Nate I totally agree you get what you pay for but I would argue that frames can be pretty subjective too at that price point. I still think some bike direct bikes and the airbornes are good deals provided you know what you are getting into.

    I will also admit I didn't take a look at any of those specific bikes, and i wouldn't argue against purchasing from REI.

    I would argue that there is a pretty big difference between the suntour shocks and the rockshox xc lines compared to a recon air or reba. Especially in rougher terrain. I find it pretty amazing that $1000 bikes come with such mediocre shocks in general. For that matter I am amazed how expensive bike have gotten.

    Let be honest about the wheels. With the exception of a few manufacturers you are getting pretty marginal wheels on most bikes that are under $3000. A "good" wheel set is going to run you $500 to $1000. So it is all subjective.

    Totally agree with the warranty thing, and kudos to my LBS to keep me rolling. I didn't mean that as a knock against my LBS just props to bikesdirect taking quick actions on a warranty request. Like you said I am certain they just shipped a new part and placed a claim once they received the part or just called it a wash.

    Compare those bikes at $1000+ to this one and tell me why the others are better bikes?
    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Motobecane Fantom 29Elite

    Hell I am considering buying another one just to put the parts on an On One Scandal 29er, that would put the build around $1300, but thats a whole other story.

    @OP , sorry to muddy the waters. Nate is right though don't get too wrapped up in components. Also check your LBSs. Mine have some killer deals going on right now. Talk to other riders in your area and see what they are riding. At the end of the day you can ride any of those you posted. if y
    Sent via my heady vibes from the heart of Pisgahstan

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    Great advise guys, thanks for all the responses.


    Quote Originally Posted by Zuarte View Post
    Here's some more reading to give you an overview of the modern bike scene:
    What Is A 29er - BikeRadar
    Shootout: Wheel Wars 29 vs 27.5 vs 26 | News | mountain-bike-action

    Be sure to check your local bike shop too, besides REI. Even check Sports Chalet if you're near one. For your first bike, I recommend buying it locally and in person, and not blindly from the internet.

    As for online retailers, JensonUSA and Pricepoint have good reputations and are both based in California. Nashbar of Ohio (I think) is sort of a mixed bag.
    ^^^^^^Thanks for the links, some good reading there.
    The reason for going with REI is simply because I have about $200 in gift certificates plus their member refund AND their credit card refund, I can potentially save about $350 from a bike, plus they are local to me so I can go and try their bikes.
    There's also a LBS a few blocks from where I live but they mostly carry Surly bikes, and they are way over my budget, I'll go back there this weekend and take a second look.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    OP, those are all XC bikes. Not that there's anything wrong with that - that's what I ride.

    Since you've been away, the bike industry has invented a bunch of new terms. They correspond, more or less, to different riding styles. I can give you my impressions, and hopefully that will be helpful.

    AM - smaller and lighter than freeride, can be ridden to the tops of things, but it's not what they're about. Great bikes for people who aren't shuttling but probably use a fire road for most climbing and want to hit everything in sight that could be a kicker or a drop or a wall ride or whatever.

    At $1000, retail pricing doesn't give you much. A Novara on sale might, though.

    You can do well in a used bike for that, however. So that's something to think about.

    I think your height puts you on the cusp between small and medium in most brands.
    Good luck!
    ^^^^^ Is definitely hard for a newb like me to tell the differences between bike types, specially XC, AM, TRAIL and FR, they seem pretty similar.
    I KNOW I definitely want to do AM type riding based on your description, yes I will probably start doing mostly XC but once I gain some confidence.......... is on


    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    The Suntour fork on the 970 limits that bike to light trail and bike path use. You will go to tougher trails pretty quick so a good fork on a hard tail is the critical component. If you can find a bike with a dual air RockShox Reba(2012).

    Airborne with a new Goblin
    Right now there are some good deals out there--like Performance Bikes carbon 29er Access Stealth LTD for 999.
    ^^^^^^ Thanks for the links on the bikes, the Access looks amazing.
    As far as shocks which are the better ones from each brand, for example, looking at the Rockshox website it shows me 17 different categories, and then a variety of shocks within each category. Which ones should I stay away from??

    Quote Originally Posted by rangeriderdave View Post
    It's a lot cheeper in the long run to buy a bike that is equiped for how you are useing it that upgrade something not quite right. Deciding what and how you are going to use it are a lot harder. Test ride ,demo, borrow,talk ask questions .If you like riding you will still most likely want something esle in a year or two.
    ^^^^^^^Absolutely right about buying the best from the get-go. However, being a family man and a parent of two wonderful kids, it hard for me to justify a $3k or $4k bike. Could I afford it??? Sure. But I just can't bring myself to do it, I much rather spend that kind of money on a family vacation.
    With that said I feel much better buying a cheaper bike and upgrading from time to time, even if it cost more in the long run (sort of brain masturbation)


    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    You are going to have a lot of components tossed at you on these bikes and that's going to be the most obvious difference you'll see.

    For that reason, it would be worthwhile to browse component manufacturer websites and catalogs to see how those individual items are priced to get an idea for what's "better".

    All of those bikes you linked are good, but there's a few hundred $$$ of difference in the price. The Marin started off as nearly a $1400 bike and the Diamondback falls right about $1,000. You can see a pretty major difference when you note that a couple of the bikes have Rockshox Recon forks and the Diamondback and the Scott have Suntour forks. I wouldn't say the Suntours are only good for bike paths and light trails. They can be ridden on real trails, but cheaper suspension forks are going to be less adjustable for your ride preferences, they are oftentimes less serviceable for long term use, and they usually don't "feel" as effective (that "feel" thing is hard to grasp when you're new. It's something you'll develop over time).

    Drivetrain parts are less of a concern, but a lot of manufacturers like to put flashier drivetrain parts on a bike because a lot of new riders only know those component lines. Thing is, drivetrain parts wear out and break so you have to replace them. A lot of riders who have budgets ride things in the Deore-XT range for Shimano (XT being less budget-minded) and in the X7-X9 range for SRAM (with X9 being less budget-minded). Most of us cannot afford to be putting XTR and X0-XX stuff on our bikes when it wears out. There's only marginal improvements to be had here, anyway.

    In the price range you're looking at, you're not going to find wheels that are anything special. They're all going to be cheap.

    Brakes are a bit tougher to figure out. The biggest thing you'll need to figure out will be whether a bike you're looking at has single-piston or dual-piston hydraulic disc brakes. Single piston hydros work fundamentally the same as mechanical disc brakes. One pad is fixed (and you have to adjust it for wear) while your lever operates the other pad. Single piston hydraulic brakes are really not any sort of improvement over good mechanical discs. Dual piston hydraulic brakes are better because both pads move when you squeeze your lever. These also adjust automatically for pad wear. Based on my experience in a shop, I can tell you that not everyone in the back building bikes can set up disc brakes worth a squat. If the brakes of the bikes on the sales floor rub, that's why. Get one of the more skilled mechanics to adjust them properly before going on a test ride. Some brands/models of brakes have a tendency to make a lot of noise when you're braking. See the "Avid turkey warble" thread as an example.

    This is where it can be a benefit to try out bikes that are way more expensive and way less expensive than your price point. You can compare higher level components to lower level components. You can feel what a good brake feels like and what a cheap brake feels like. They will both stop you, but the real answer is in the details.
    ^^^^^ I definitely need to do lots of homework on components, before reading this forum I didn't even know there was so much of a difference in quality and technology within the same manufacturer, to be honest I thought it was more or less a one size fits all type of deal.
    I actually like your advise a lot, it hadn't even crossed my mind to try more expensive bikes and compare them to cheaper ones


    Quote Originally Posted by mattnmtns View Post
    Lots of good advice so far.

    As others have said though you need to get a bike that matches your riding. You mention AM. You probably mean more XC/Trail. Dropping all the names and abbreviations I suspect you want a bike you can take on a trail in CO and be able to handle the trails. In CO though that could mean a FS bike which you might as well forget at the $1000 price point.

    At that price point your best bet is going to be a 29er hardtail. Demo as many as you can. Don't rush to buy on urge, do your research, ask questions, and make an informed decision.

    I agree with almost everything that Nate says but disagree with a few points. 1 Drive train is very important, especially in terrain where you shift often. Deore/x5 good, SLX/XT/X7 better and will suffice for starting out. I'd skip anything less than Deore/X5.
    ^^^^^^^ After some reading I'm pretty sure AM is the direction I'm heading to, I will most likely start in XC but will end up in AM.
    As far as drive trains go does shimano goes like this(as far as quality)????
    (Best++++)XTR, Saint, ZEE, Deodore XT, SLX, Deodore, Alivio(----Worst)

    What about SRAM???




    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    ...and most important, make sure the bike fits you. Discomfort during long trails is a joy killer. Go test ride some demos - 15 minutes or more each bike. A 3-minute spin round the block won't tell you where your aches and pains will come from on an extended ride.

    -S
    ^^^^^^ This is probably my next phase, I will be doing lots of test driving in the coming weeks before I pull the plug.

    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    For a $1,000 bike, he should not be encountering much Acera bike path componentry. All of the bikes he linked to didn't have anything cheaper than Deore/X5. Anything he encounters in the price range should be reasonably trail worthy. Will it hold up to heavy abuse from lots of air and plowing through rock gardens? For the XC oriented bikes posted, no...but neither would a $2,000 XC bike or a $3,000 XC bike. I had a $500 bike with Deore drivetrain and most of those components lasted 10 years of trail riding. The rear derailleur broke because it caught a stick (can happen to any derailleur) and the shifters wore out. The front derailleur was still going when I sold it. the parts worked well and reliably for a long time.
    ^^^^^^ This is more or less what I want, a trail worthy bike, I know I won't be getting the latest and greatest with my budget. But if I can start with something decent and upgrade the bike as the rider gets upgraded, I'll be a happy camper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattnmtns View Post
    Compare those bikes at $1000+ to this one and tell me why the others are better bikes?
    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Motobecane Fantom 29Elite
    The motobecane in that link is pretty comparable to the Marin and the Cannondale in the OP's link (so, figure, BD is inflating it's "List" price by at least $300-$500 on that bike). The Marin, on sale, costs the same while the Cannondale is a little more expensive. FWIW, only the two smallest sizes of the motobecane are available right now. Not sure how the production schedule for motobecane is, but most bike mfr's have their best availability in the fall/winter, with availability becoming more limited in spring-summer as they tool up for the new model year. The motobecane has slightly better bits in the drivetrain and brakes, but not significantly so. I question anyone who can tell the difference between SRAM x5 and Shimano SLX beyond the inherent differences of SRAM and Shimano parts. Subtle difference. Same with the Avid Elixir 1 vs Elixir 3 brakes. Both are dual piston hydros. Any differences are going to be subtle. You'll get a slightly cheaper generic frame, less support directly from the retailer, and that mostly covers the price difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattnmtns View Post
    Nate I totally agree you get what you pay for but I would argue that frames can be pretty subjective too at that price point. I still think some bike direct bikes and the airbornes are good deals provided you know what you are getting into.

    I will also admit I didn't take a look at any of those specific bikes, and i wouldn't argue against purchasing from REI.

    I would argue that there is a pretty big difference between the suntour shocks and the rockshox xc lines compared to a recon air or reba. Especially in rougher terrain. I find it pretty amazing that $1000 bikes come with such mediocre shocks in general. For that matter I am amazed how expensive bike have gotten.

    Let be honest about the wheels. With the exception of a few manufacturers you are getting pretty marginal wheels on most bikes that are under $3000. A "good" wheel set is going to run you $500 to $1000. So it is all subjective.

    Totally agree with the warranty thing, and kudos to my LBS to keep me rolling. I didn't mean that as a knock against my LBS just props to bikesdirect taking quick actions on a warranty request. Like you said I am certain they just shipped a new part and placed a claim once they received the part or just called it a wash.

    Compare those bikes at $1000+ to this one and tell me why the others are better bikes?
    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Motobecane Fantom 29Elite

    Hell I am considering buying another one just to put the parts on an On One Scandal 29er, that would put the build around $1300, but thats a whole other story.

    @OP , sorry to muddy the waters. Nate is right though don't get too wrapped up in components. Also check your LBSs. Mine have some killer deals going on right now. Talk to other riders in your area and see what they are riding. At the end of the day you can ride any of those you posted. if y
    I totally agree, bikes are reaching ridiculous prices.
    So what would be the cheapest starting point to get a decent bike???? and which bikes would you recommend at said price????

  16. #16
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    I think I am rambling at this point, Forgive me I am on some meds that are making me looopy

    I'd focus more on the quality of fork over the drive train. SRAM versus Shimano is a personal preference. At the end of the day they both make great stuff. I like Shimano better.

    I know you have all these GCs for REI but I would check out some LBSs. Like I said I have seen some crazy good deal. Maybe use that REI money for helmet, tools, extra tubes, lube, biking shorts with a chamois. I would think there would be some good bike shops in CO. At the very least see what they have to offer, give them a spin and compare

    Nothing wrong with getting an XC bike. I ride a SC tallboy that is technically XC, it can handle pretty much all I can through at it. Plenty of people ride the same with 29er hardtails. Some with rigid SS. I'm getting older and my body appreciates the FS.

    So don't get too wrapped up in all of the choices. Test ride as many as you can. If possible demo them on actual trails and not the parking lots. Buy the one that feels the best to YOU.

    If you end up loving it and riding all the time then you will have an easier time justifying that sweet FS rig.

    I will say buying with the thought of upgrading components is usually a losing proposition. I should know as I always seem to find myself in that boat. You are probably better just riding the hell out of it and upgrading to a complete bike.
    Sent via my heady vibes from the heart of Pisgahstan

  17. #17
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    LOL, just saw your latest post

    Its a bit subjective as lot has to do with the terrain you are riding. That said I think you should be able to get a 29er HT that is just north of $1000 that will serve you well. If your budget is truly around $1000, I would first see what deals your LBS can make. REI is great but they are usually around MSRP for most of their stuff. Though if you are a member you get 10% back, plus they sometimes have killer sales.

    Out of what you posted I would look hard at the Marin. I have seen SC Highballs around the 1200 mark. Some other Scott models that REI doesn't carry for around the same price point.

    Might also check for a local IMBA chapter and talk to some local riders.

    Don't stress it. A lot of us, self included tend to obsess too much about specifics. As long as the bike feels good to you, and you are out having fun. That is all that matters.

    Cheers!
    Sent via my heady vibes from the heart of Pisgahstan

  18. #18
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    I'm having a hard time differentiating between the bike styles, the only ones I can tell right away are Downhill bikes, but XC, AM, Trail, all look about the same, I've looked at the picture threads in this forum and can hardly tell one from the other. Is it all geometry or are there telltale signs that sets them apart from one another?????

    As far as my budget, I can definitely extend it to about $1500, once the holidays are over I'll star checking the LBS's around my area, there's quite a few and I'm sure I can get a good deal.
    REI still in the back of my mind since I can get a killer deal on any bike, for example, a $1500 bike:

    -$200 GC's
    -$150 member 10% back
    -$75 REI CC 5% cash back

    Total = $1075 for a $1500 bike. Also I've heard they can order you bikes they don't normally carry, so I'll find out if this is true next time I'm there.

  19. #19
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    Typically you see those describing full suspension bikes
    XC=4" travel
    Trail=5"
    AM=6"

    They also tend to get heavier in that order. To confuse things some manufacturers are making hard tail Trail and AM bikes. They typically have slacker head angles. The same tends to go with AM FS bikes. Think almost downhill but something you can still pedal to the top.

    I will assume a lot here but I think you would probably be better suited with an XC or trail bike. Down the road if you find yourself wanting more suspension or be able to blast downhill then you might consider and AM bike.

    Generally speaking an XC bike will be the most versatile and good hard tail is a good bike to learn or re-learn on. Now if you know you are going to be tacking a lot of rough stuff then you might want to consider FS but bare minimum you are looking around $1800 or so, and that will get you something like the Santa Cruz Superlight or Superlight 29er.
    Sent via my heady vibes from the heart of Pisgahstan

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    ...and most important, make sure the bike fits you.
    +1

    One way to ensure reasonable fit is to go to a local shop and try some bikes. Even a few laps playing with the bike around the parking lot will help.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  21. #21
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    I think it's hard to distinguish between AM and freeride. I find them more similar than AM and trail bikes. But to some extent, it's also subjective, and it can be pretty fluid.

    The amount of suspension travel is the easiest way to tell. I'd agree with post #19 as a good rough guide. Especially with 29ers, there are still some XC bikes shipping with less travel, but I don't think the amount of travel, per se, is terribly important.

    As far as buying one - in my area, the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR and Specialized Enduro are really popular, basically depending on whether someone sees himself as more of a trail (Stumpjumper) or AM (Enduro) type. This year's base-model Enduro is well-equipped but costs $3500 to buy new. Yeow. Suppose I buy one, ride it a little, and think it's not really my style. To resell, it's probably worth on the order of $2300 if I didn't put a lot of miles on it and it's in kickass shape. As far as I'm concerned, that $1200 price drop is money that I'm paying the guys who come up with Bold New Graphics, the various middlemen, for the new bike smell, for the warranty coverage, etc. In general, I don't see all that as being worth $1200, or 35% of whatever the bike's retail was. Every year afterwards, and with every additional ding, the price is going to drop a bit.

    Buying bikes that are designed for burlier styles of riding can be a bit riskier than buying road and XC bikes. With any class, you don't really know if the person you're buying from babied the bike or rode it hard and put it away wet. But odds of people tossing around bikes that are supposed to be tossed around are a bit higher. Still, you probably wouldn't run into enough damage even if you did a pretty poor job inspecting to run all the way back up to what you'd spend retail.

    AM hardtails can pull the price down a fair amount. There aren't a ton, but there are a few. Transition has a couple, On-One has a couple, Kona has a couple. Specialized and Trek have had them at times. So that's another option.

    I think you get your best initial value and your best ability to get money back out of a bike doing used. If you're thinking what you want to do is launch, starting by buying a bike meant to climb fast is probably not a great decision.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  22. #22
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    Go to as many locai bike shops as possible. Taik with the sales people about the type of riding you want to do. Pick a bike from the shop that gives you the best vibe that is also in your budget. Enjoy.

    Note: REI counts as a LBS in this instance.
    "There are those who would say there's something pathological about the need to ride, and they're probably on to something. I'd wager though that most of the society-approved compulsions leave deeper scars in the psyche than a need to go and ride a bicycle on a mountain." Cam McRea

  23. #23
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    I'm with Andrew. I can't envision buying a spanking new bike and see it depreciate almost instantly. That's the primary reasons why I buy used frames etc and have fun putting the entire bike together, with the parts I want, not some factory-driven decision. It's some kind of therapy of sorts for me.

    Anyways, for the money, I'd go with a used bike.

    -S

  24. #24
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    I agree when you guys say that buying new is risky business, but that might be a price I'll have to pay. For me I think is even riskier to buy used, since I don't really know what I'm looking for or looking at. I rather lose a few hundred bucks to depreciation on a new bike, than lose a thousand on a used bike that might turn out to be crap.

  25. #25
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    It's all pretty overwhelming..LOL.

    Get to a LBS or REI and check out bikes. You won't know what you like until you do. You may find a totally different kind of bike than you were thinking of. Try out a 26 or 29 inch wheel to see what you like as well. Check out Surly bikes..even if you can't afford one, you'll still have something to compare the other bikes too. I don't think Surly bikes have suspension forks, only rigid.

    The only thing I hate about 1000-1500 dollar bikes are the forks. Look for a versatile fork that allows for adjustments. Have fun looking around and don't let yourself get pressured into something you don't want.

    You can always come back with questions on specific bikes that you've found but aren't sure of. These guys know their bikes. Good luck!

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