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. #26
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    I rode the Trek 4300 disc, spec. hardrock disc., giant revel 1 and 2, hardrock hardrock, before deciding I liked the feel of the Revel and saw that the Revel 0 had much better components than the countparts, which the extra $80-90 was well worth it. I just picked up a revel 2 for my girlfriend, she got on it and she said, I actually like riding this bike. Was sold on that. At this level, the frame/component difference is minimal, so fit IS key. For us to tell you one bike is better than the other may end up in you getting a bike you would dislike. That is why everyone is urging for you to ride them. I prefer the Giant because that what was comfortable to me. Some people live and die by Trek brand. Others prefer Specialized.

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe_bloe View Post
    Hey Joey, I see from your profile that you're in Wilmington, DE. Call the Performance Bike in Newark
    my experiences from the inside of Performance Bike have been less than stellar. cheap bikes. lousy place to get service. just my $0.02.

  3. #28
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    Anyone else feel free to chime in!
    IMHO save your money and get a bike within your original budget and be happy

    You are buying it as a beginner to ride the easy/moderate trails in the first place.

    Once you figure out what type of trails you like to ride on (smooth and flowy or rough and bumpy) then you can buy the type of bike that suits your riding style best.

    In any case, that Trek 3500 frame is pretty solid, it would take a tremendous hit for you to damage it. And if you do happen to wreck it by riding on the trails, you need to be looking at the AM forum for opinions on your next ride!
    Last edited by CheesePuff; 09-28-2011 at 11:08 PM. Reason: Thought you bought it already!

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    my experiences from the inside of Performance Bike have been less than stellar. cheap bikes. lousy place to get service. just my $0.02.
    That may be your experience, but I was suggesting he call about a specific bike at a specific price. Do you have an opinion of the GT Avalanche 3.0 at $399?

  5. #30
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    after working at a few bike shops, I have found from experience that the shop you buy from can be just as important as the bike you buy. when I was at Performance, a customer would have to wait 2-3 weeks to get a bike back for a minor tune-up. mechanics were on the clock from 8 am to 9 pm and there was never enough time to get the workload done. I saw a lot of customers walk into the store while I was busy, wander around for 30 minutes trying to track down an employee, and never get help because the place was so under-staffed.

    with the trek dealer where I work now, we know most of our customers on a first-name basis and usually finish tune-ups on the same day, no longer than two days later. you will never get that kind of attention at Performance.

    as for the bike, the Avalanche 3.0 has an 8-speed drivetrain, which is an improvement over the Treks. As a beginner, you might not notice or care. I think the fork is about the same as what's on the 3700 with 100mm travel. the GT also has some wide, aluminum bars, whereas the Treks have narrower steel bars. the main advantage of that GT is the double-walled rims. however, the Treks have 36-spoked wheels while the GT has 32's. i can't speak from experience which will be stronger- a 36h single-wall wheel or a 32h double-wall. I think that overall, the GT is built more for trails with the fatter tires, wide bars, (probably) stronger wheels. if you can get past dealing with Performance, it might be a better deal. if I remember correctly, those Avalanches are pretty darn hefty. probably not impossibly heavy, but you will appreciate a "light" bike when you try one after a few months on a porker.

    ask the Trek shop what they have to offer in terms of benefits, maintenance, discounts on gear, how they are involved in the local cycling scene, etc. Performance offers cheap prices on bikes and that's about it. I hate to turn this into a "big box store vs. LBS" debate, but i want the OP to be aware that the distinction makes a difference in the experience he will get.

  6. #31
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    A well-reasoned reply

    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    after working at a few bike shops, I have found from experience that the shop you buy from can be just as important as the bike you buy.

    as for the bike, the Avalanche 3.0 has an 8-speed drivetrain, which is an improvement over the Treks. As a beginner, you might not notice or care.
    One important difference may be that the Treks have freewheels, while the Giant has a cassette. I don't know that for a fact, but that's often the case with 7-sp vs 8-sp.

    +1 on all of your points, +rep!

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe_bloe View Post
    Hey Joey, I see from your profile that you're in Wilmington, DE. Call the Performance Bike in Newark and see if they have the GT Avalanche 3.0 in stock. Online they're selling it for $399. It's a 3x8, dual-wall rims, Alivio derailleur, looks like generally higher level of equipment than either Trek 3xxx you're considering.
    That was nice of you to let me know that. Newark is only about 25 min. away. And it looks pretty bad ass.

    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    my experiences from the inside of Performance Bike have been less than stellar. cheap bikes. lousy place to get service. just my $0.02.
    damn Mack.. raining on my parade hahaha. Just kidding. I like to know that as well. I don't want to have to deal with idiots.


    Quote Originally Posted by CheesePuff View Post
    IMHO save your money and get a bike within your original budget and be happy

    You are buying it as a beginner to ride the easy/moderate trails in the first place.

    Once you figure out what type of trails you like to ride on (smooth and flowy or rough and bumpy) then you can buy the type of bike that suits your riding style best.

    In any case, that Trek 3500 frame is pretty solid, it would take a tremendous hit for you to damage it. And if you do happen to wreck it by riding on the trails, you need to be looking at the AM forum for opinions on your next ride!
    That is a very very good point as well. I am taking everything in and I hope to make a decision very soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by joe_bloe View Post
    One important difference may be that the Treks have freewheels, while the Giant has a cassette. I don't know that for a fact, but that's often the case with 7-sp vs 8-sp.

    +1 on all of your points, +rep!
    Can you guys explain what that means?

    Also, Mack Turtle.. you work in a Trek shop. I think I have decided not to go with the specialized and now it is between the 2 Trek bikes and the Giant Revel 1. What do you think??

  8. #33
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    See Sheldon Brown's article about freewheels vs. cassettes. The main difference to a 1st-time bike buyer is that cassettes can be upgraded later, 8 speed can be replaced with 9 speed or even 10 speed cassettes. With a 7 speed freewheel, you're stuck with 7 speeds.

    As a matter of fact, any first-time bike buyer should read as much of Sheldon Brown's site as you can get through!

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joey Jiggles View Post
    Can you guys explain what that means?

    Also, Mack Turtle.. you work in a Trek shop. I think I have decided not to go with the specialized and now it is between the 2 Trek bikes and the Giant Revel 1. What do you think??
    Freewheel or cassette is referring to the rear hub of the bike. The standard 8,9,10 speed rear hub is a cassette hub which usually has a three sets of bearings in it and it is at least supported on the ends of the hub. This means that the axle is sitting in the hub and is supported right next to where it sits in the frame so it doesn't bend very much.

    A freewheel hub has a set of gears that is threaded onto the hub body, the threaded on gears do not have the axle supporting bearing on the outer edge so the hub is now supported by one bearing at the dropout and one bearing near the center of the axle. This means that there's a whole bunch of unsupported axle which can lead to a shorter life for freewheel rear hubs when compared to cassette rear hubs.

    You know, I typed this all out then found the guru of bicycles has an article posted on this, here's an image explaining the two:


    which comes from here: Freewheel or Cassette? which is worth a read.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe_bloe View Post
    See Sheldon Brown's article about freewheels vs. cassettes. The main difference to a 1st-time bike buyer is that cassettes can be upgraded later, 8 speed can be replaced with 9 speed or even 10 speed cassettes. With a 7 speed freewheel, you're stuck with 7 speeds.

    As a matter of fact, any first-time bike buyer should read as much of Sheldon Brown's site as you can get through!
    So I am getting from both of you that "technically" Cassettes are better? I did read that article. I mean I'm TRYING to stay up to you guys, but it seems like the Cassette is better that you can upgrade but the Freewheels you can completely change brands.

    Is my final conclusion correct that the Cassette would be the better way to go since it has more room for improvement based on moving up gears?

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joey Jiggles View Post
    So I am getting from both of you that "technically" Cassettes are better? I did read that article. I mean I'm TRYING to stay up to you guys, but it seems like the Cassette is better that you can upgrade but the Freewheels you can completely change brands.

    Is my final conclusion correct that the Cassette would be the better way to go since it has more room for improvement based on moving up gears?
    Multi gear freewheels are old technology and are becoming less and less popular even with manufacturers.

    In every way, a cassette hub is better than a freewheel hub for the purposes of multi gear bikes (I will argue that my SS White Industries freewheel is the bomb though). The system is more readily upgradable and stronger.

    Don't get hung up by changing brands, you can do the same thing with Cassettes if you like. The only brand you can't easily change to is Campy, not that you would want to do that.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  12. #37
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    Well then right now.. I am leaning towards the Giant. I am going today after work to check out a local shop that sells them and get their 2 cents on that Giant vs. Treks. It appears to me that the Giant has better parts than the Trek 3700 and for the same price. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

  13. #38
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    You will hear a whole story about how Giant makes everyones frames and what-not. I think the main best difference is the wheel/tire setup. The kenda block 8's are an awesome tire for what you want to ride as you can fill them up to 80psi and you have the strength of double wall rims. The 3 series trek has single wall so drops/curbs/somewhat technical trail riding may become an issue.

  14. #39
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    I decided to call the shop before I go down there today and he said that he would recommend a Raleigh Talus 4.0. He has it for $400. Any opinions on that bike?

  15. #40
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    Head to head comparison

    Here are the specs on the Talus 4.0:

    Sizes
    14, 16, 18, 20, 22
    Frame
    Atomic 13 SL Custom Butted Aluminum, Formed Downtube, CNC Machined Headtube
    Fork
    SR Suntour XCT 100mm w/Preload
    Cranks
    SR Suntour XCT V3 22/32/42t
    BB
    Sealed Cartridge
    F.Derail
    Shimano TX-51
    R.Derail
    Shimano Acera
    Shifter
    Shimano EF-51 EZ Fire 8spd
    Br.Levers
    Shimano EF-51
    Brakes
    Tektro Novela Mechanical Disc, 160mm Rotors
    Gear
    Shimano HG40 (11-32t)
    Rims
    Weinmann XC260 Double Wall
    Tires
    K-879 26x1.95
    Pedals
    Avenir ATB Resin Platform
    Handlebar
    Steel 25mm Rise x 620mm, 25.4
    Stem
    Alloy Ahead 4-Bolt 20ยบ
    Seatpost
    Alloy Micro Adjust 27.2x350mm
    Seat
    Avenir 200 Series Mountain
    Headset
    Ahead 1-1/8"
    Colors
    Pewter, Matte Hunter Green
    Spokes
    14g Stainless Steel
    Grips
    Avenir Single File

    Here are the specs on the Giant Revel 2.0:

    Sizes 2XS, XS, S, M, L, XL
    Colors Black/Blue, Silver/Black
    Frame ALUXX-Grade Butted Aluminum
    Fork SR Suntour XCT V3 w/ Preload Adjust, 100mm Travel
    Shock N/A
    Components
    Handlebar Steel, 50mm Rise
    Stem Alloy
    Seatpost Alloy, 30.9
    Saddle Giant Sport MTB
    Pedals Nylon Platform
    Drivetrain
    Shifters SRAM X.3, Trigger
    Front Derailleur Shimano C-102
    Rear Derailleur SRAM X.3
    Brakes Alloy Direct-Pull Cantilever
    Brake Levers Alloy, 2 Finger
    Cassette Shimano 14x34, 7-Speed
    Chain KMC Z51
    Crankset SR Suntour XCT V2, 28/38/48
    Bottom Bracket SR Cartridge
    Wheels
    Rims Giant XC Alloy, Double Wall
    Hubs Alloy, 32h
    Spokes Stainless Steel, 14g
    Tires Kenda Small Block Eight, 26x2.1

    Here are the specs on the GT Avalanche 3.0:

    BOTTOM BRACKET: Tange sealed
    BRAKES: Tektro Novela, cable disc, with 180mm front rotor and 160mm rear rotor
    CASSETTE: Shimano CS-HG30-8, 8-speed, 11-32T
    CHAIN: KMC Z72
    CRANKSET: Suntour XCT-30V2-T2, 42/32/22T
    FORK: Suntour XCM-V3-HLO, 10mm travel, steel stanchions, aluminum leg, with lockout
    FRAME: 26" 6061 aluminum GT Triple Triangle design with hydroformed top tube and downtube, zero stack head tube, disc mount and replaceable derailleur hanger
    FRONT DERAILLEUR: Shimano Acera FD-M360
    GRIPS/TAPE: GT dual-density ATB
    HANDLEBAR: All Terra 6061 aluminum riser, 685mm width, 25mm rise, 31.8 clamp
    HEADSET: Tange Seiki 1 1/8", threadless, zero stack
    LEVERS: Tektro
    PEDALS: GT slim line flat
    REAR DERAILLEUR: Shimano Alivio RD-M410
    REAR SHOCK: NA
    SADDLE: WTB Pure-V Sport
    SEATPOST: All Terra alloy micro-adjust
    SHIFTERS: Shimano SLM310, Rapid Fire
    STEM: All Terra 1 1/8" threadless, 4-bolt with CNC face plate, 5-degree rise, 31.8mm clamp
    TIRES: Maxxis Mobster, 26x2.35, 26x2.10
    WHEELSET: Rims: Alex DC25, double-wall, 32-hole; Hubs: All Terra alloy disc with quick release

    Analysis:
    Giant is 3x7, Raleigh and GT are 3x8 +GT & Raleigh, -Giant
    All three have the Suntour XCT fork, GT has lockout +GT
    All three have Suntour XCT crankset tie
    Talus has Acera rear derailleur, Giant has SRAM X.3, GT has Alivio. +GT
    All three have Tektro brakes tie
    Giant has Kenda SB8 tires, GT has Maxxis Mobster, Talus has bo-bo no-names. SB8s are the absolute best for dry hardpack, Mobsters look better for wet & mud, don't know anything about the tires on the Talus.

    I'd sit on each of them, see which one feels better. If it came down to the Giant vs the Raleigh, and they fit the same, I'd probably go Raleigh on the 8-speed, or else compare how the bike shop treats you. Other components are comparable.

    The GT seems to be a little bit better equipped, but if dealing with Performance Bikes is a deal-breaker, then I'd go Talus.

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe_bloe View Post
    [B]

    Analysis:
    Giant is 3x7, Raleigh and GT are 3x8 +GT & Raleigh, -Giant
    All three have the Suntour XCT fork, GT has lockout +GT
    All three have Suntour XCT crankset tie
    Talus has Acera rear derailleur, Giant has SRAM X.3, GT has Alivio. +GT
    All three have Tektro brakes tie
    Giant has Kenda SB8 tires, GT has Maxxis Mobster, Talus has bo-bo no-names. SB8s are the absolute best for dry hardpack, Mobsters look better for wet & mud, don't know anything about the tires on the Talus.

    I'd sit on each of them, see which one feels better. If it came down to the Giant vs the Raleigh, and they fit the same, I'd probably go Raleigh on the 8-speed, or else compare how the bike shop treats you. Other components are comparable.

    The GT seems to be a little bit better equipped, but if dealing with Performance Bikes is a deal-breaker, then I'd go Talus.
    Awesome analysis! And to think to think I was going to lean towards Giant. I will be on them both today. I have read some bad reviews on the Raleigh and I can't really find anything bad on the Giant. HOPEFULLY I will come to a decision very soon. Can't thank you guys enough.

    Again.. the more opinions the better before I join the MTBR family.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joey Jiggles View Post
    Awesome analysis! And to think to think I was going to lean towards Giant. I will be on them both today. I have read some bad reviews on the Raleigh and I can't really find anything bad on the Giant. HOPEFULLY I will come to a decision very soon. Can't thank you guys enough.

    Again.. the more opinions the better before I join the MTBR family.
    A bike is a lot more than what parts are attached to it, don't get too caught up in what parts are bolted to what bikes. Test riding will probably tell you a lot about the bikes and hopefully will make your decision quite a bit easier.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    A bike is a lot more than what parts are attached to it, don't get too caught up in what parts are bolted to what bikes. Test riding will probably tell you a lot about the bikes and hopefully will make your decision quite a bit easier.
    Fair enough.. I will go into the store today and test both bikes. I believe he said he actually has them in the shop! We shall see....

  19. #44
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    Oh and another thing.. any big difference between a 7 speed and an 8 speed?

  20. #45
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    Just make sure it's a cassette, not a freewheel.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joey Jiggles View Post
    Oh and another thing.. any big difference between a 7 speed and an 8 speed?
    Ask the salesman to confirm for you that it's a cassette.

  21. #46
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    Hi,
    Try a test ride. It makes a difference. I test rode canondale models and trek models and loved the Trek. Its a personal thing. What about clearance on 2011 models? I see 30% discount on some 2011 bikes in UK store. You might also need to pick up some accessories and might want to factor that in.

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    I am new to mountain biking and to this forum, but, I would echo what many others have said. Just a week ago I purchased my first real mountain bike. I didn't have a budget to stick to and knew little about them. I went to a LBS that my son has done business with for years and they were very informative, friendly and answered all of my questions to my satisfaction. No BS.

    With that being said, what lead me to the bike I brought home was the feel. I tried out six or seven bikes of different manufactures. Made adjustments to them. In the end, the bike I have now just felt right and is a joy to ride.

    Could I have gotten a better bike with nicer parts? Yes.
    Could I have spent month on the Internet doing research? Yes.

    I'm glad I got the bike I got. Will it be my last bike purchase? If this hobby is like all the others, the answer will be NO! But I am having a blast riding.

    Hope this helps!

  23. #48
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    You know what's funny?

    I get there and he tries to sell me the Raleigh. NOPE. But then I realized the shifter. I like the SRAM shifter where you only use your thhumbers. I always have my fingers placed on the break so I really like that grip. That pretty much did it for me. I am almost def. going with a Giant Revel 1. Waiting on pricing and then I decide! I know you guys are going to lose sleep over this haha jk Can't thank you enough for all of your help.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joey Jiggles View Post
    You know what's funny?

    I get there and he tries to sell me the Raleigh. NOPE. But then I realized the shifter. I like the SRAM shifter where you only use your thhumbers. I always have my fingers placed on the break so I really like that grip. That pretty much did it for me. I am almost def. going with a Giant Revel 1. Waiting on pricing and then I decide! I know you guys are going to lose sleep over this haha jk Can't thank you enough for all of your help.
    I'm not really understanding the beginning of your post. What was wrong with the Raleigh? What kind of shifters did it have?

  25. #50
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    The SRAM triggers are sweet for the left hand downshift and the righthand upshift, super quick.

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