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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    difference in ride quality between bikes: high end vs low end

    just curious, i've never ridden a high end bike, say an EX 9.8, at least not on the trails, but i've ridden lower end bikes, like the EX 7. For those of you who've ridden both on the trails, or even for those of you who just know, is there a major difference in how the bike feels when riding? I know the higher end bikes are lower in weight and offer better components, but is the difference really obvious when you're out shredding?

  2. #2
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    I wouldn't consider an EX 7 a lower end bike. When you said lower end, I was thinking more along the lines of a Trek 820. An EX7 is probably closer to an EX9.8 than an EX7 is vs an 820. You can probably answer your own question by finding a truly cheap bike and ride that and compare it to your EX7. But there's a diminishing return on performance differences the higher you go on a given scale, and my opinion is your EX7 is not on the low end of that scale to start with.
    ~Always avoid alliteration.

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zuarte View Post
    I wouldn't consider an EX 7 a lower end bike. When you said lower end, I was thinking more along the lines of a Trek 820. An EX7 is probably closer to an EX9.8 than an EX7 is vs an 820. You can probably answer your own question by finding a truly cheap bike and ride that and compare it to your EX7. But there's a diminishing return on performance differences the higher you go on a given scale, and my opinion is your EX7 is not on the low end of that scale to start with.
    I see your point. I guess I meant within the EX family. Starter EX FS vs a more pro-level EX 9.8 or 9.9.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zuarte View Post
    I wouldn't consider an EX 7 a lower end bike.
    LOL, +1.

    The EX 5 isn't really low end either, in my book. Low end is something like the 3500.

    If you spend a lot of money on your bike and you know you spent a lot of money on your bike, it'll feel like it rides better.
    Expensive Wine Tastes Better ? The Frontal Cortex

    The dark side of this is that people who get a good deal on an awesome bike sometimes don't feel that it rides awesome, and people who are in a context in which everyone else is riding $6000+ bikes don't really enjoy what they have. Which is a bummer.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  5. #5
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    I can't say any thing about those two bikes but I own a SL4 $800 hardtail and recently took a $3000 bike for a test ride (can't remember the name). The bike was lighter and full suspension and comfortable. Is it worth it, I would say no in my case. The full suspension is great but I think that unless you can afford that kind of bike our a hard core rider that you would not get full use of the bike. I love my sl4. Once you get every thing tuned to your liking the bike serves me well. To me it's like a car. You are paying for comfort and the parts. But it does the same thing. Not saying the lowerend bike is better just saying you have to find your comfort zone

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    LOL, +1.

    The EX 5 isn't really low end either, in my book. Low end is something like the 3500.

    If you spend a lot of money on your bike and you know you spent a lot of money on your bike, it'll feel like it rides better.
    Expensive Wine Tastes Better ? The Frontal Cortex

    The dark side of this is that people who get a good deal on an awesome bike sometimes don't feel that it rides awesome, and people who are in a context in which everyone else is riding $6000+ bikes don't really enjoy what they have. Which is a bummer.
    Ah, yes, the power of expectations and related thought processes. thanks for adding the cognitive science to this. i certainly can't afford a "higher end" bike, but i was just wondering if this was the case for those who have ridden more expensive bikes. i guess based on the empirical evidence andrwswitch presented, the simple idea of knowing that one has a "better" bike might influence one's riding experience. thx. still curious what others will say.

  7. #7
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    Low end? Motobecane 450HT! that was low end and even upgrading to a "better" entry level (Trail SL3) has made a huge difference for me. I can only imagine what a $3k+ bike feels like. I don't need one though
    2013 Cannondale Trail SL 3

    "You will never ride alone"

  8. #8
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    I finally moved from an upgradeitis Hardrock to a Kona Hei Hei DL last year.

    That move made a big difference.

    One of my teammates bought the Supreme. I doubt I'm missing anything there. And she's such a negative person, I can't imagine she feels her bike rides as well as I feel mine does.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
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    My friend has a low end Marin hardtail, about 500, and l have a Kona FS which cost nearly four times the price.
    The main issue seems to be although the bike rides well he is always having gear shift issues, chain coming off, brake problems, loose headset, wheel bearing trouble, wheels needed trueing, etc.

    With my Kona, l hardly have to touch the gears, the headset has never needed adjusting, the brakes have been trouble free, never touched the wheels, and so on.

    And l have done probably 1,000 miles mainly off road on the bike, so it's been used.
    In that time l have fitted one new chain, and a bottom bracket, and some new brake pads.
    The gears have shifted flawlessly.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zuarte View Post
    I wouldn't consider an EX 7 a lower end bike. When you said lower end, I was thinking more along the lines of a Trek 820. An EX7 is probably closer to an EX9.8 than an EX7 is vs an 820. You can probably answer your own question by finding a truly cheap bike and ride that and compare it to your EX7. But there's a diminishing return on performance differences the higher you go on a given scale, and my opinion is your EX7 is not on the low end of that scale to start with.
    Couldn't agree more...

  11. #11
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    I currently own a fuel ex5, and the trek demo day was this past weekend. I tested out a fuel ex 9.8 carbon 29er. Mine is a 26er so there is a big difference there just in how the bike rides, other than that, the bike was noticeably lighter, easier to lift the front end over obstacles, etc. it also has quite a bit more travel front and rear, which made for a nicer landing for some of the drop offs. The brakes are 10x better, but that is an easy upgrade to do on any bike. I will ride my ex5 for another season or two, but have made the decision to upgrade to a 9.8 or similar because in my opinion it is worth it, because I already push my bike to its limits.

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