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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    Getting serious - need some expert advice

    This is my first post, so I'll give you a quick background. This is my first season mountain biking seriously and I have been using a 2005 Kona Blast hardtail stock. I have quickly noticed that the trails I ride are pretty intense and while I can ride them effectively on the Kona, I think I would feel a lot better with a full suspension setup. I believe the type of riding I do would be 'trail' or 'all mountain.' About 50/50 uphill/downhill but the downhills are often very rocky, narrow and long.

    I came across a fantastic looking 2009 Cannondale Moto 2 which I am very tempted to buy. My question is, having only been biking for a season, would this bike be the type of bike I'm looking for: to be able to do uphills but feel a lot safer and maneuver a lot better on downhills.

    Getting serious - need some expert advice-p4pb9737388.jpg

  2. #2
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    ride for a few more months before you decide to purchase a new bike. test all tire sizes within your terrain. 26" is great in many areas but 29 excels in many as well. Depending on your body size and terrain you might want a 27.5"... I also think most beginners focus to much on rear travel.

    I don't know where you live but I ride a TB LTc and have access to my wifes 4" travel TB. If I want to blaze a course down hill I ride mine. The funny thing is during the sandy/dry season I am modestly faster on her bike. The problem is it is less fun on the downhill.

  3. #3
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    I am not against 29ers and my good friend has a 29" Cannondale hardtail but for me the big issue comes down to cost and I'd much rather get this 2009 bike here for 1700 then a newer 29" or brand new 27.5" w/ lesser components for the same cost.

    For the record I am in CT and we have a lot of woody hilly trails.

  4. #4
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    Thats a pretty big bike. Its going to be much more difficult and slower to climb than your hardtail. It'll gobble up downhill portions.

    The kind of trails you're on now will likely become harder to climb, and maybe a little boring going down. If you're managing them well on a xc hardtail, they'll just disappear on a big bike like that.

    Id look more towards 5 inch trail bikes. They'll be faster, climb better, and still descend quite a bit better. Something with 130-140mm up front.

  5. #5
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    Ride or better demo some of the many steps in travel between your 8 year old hard tail 26 and a 160mm big mountain full suspension. That is a 31.5lb bike with dated tech for rear suspension.

  6. #6
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    And that seems to be a **** load more than I'd pay for it.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  7. #7
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    Thanks so much for all the great advice. I will look for a bike that is a bit more reasonable of a transition.. a little newer with less travel.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bemiller View Post
    Thanks so much for all the great advice. I will look for a bike that is a bit more reasonable of a transition.. a little newer with less travel.
    It doesn't necessarily have to be newer, but for trail/AM you want closer to 120-150mm of travel that is set up for that purpose.

    Also, going from an entry level hardtail from 2005 to a mid to high range full suspension from 2005 or newer will make it a much more capable bike on the techy sections.

  9. #9
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    What is the disadvantage of having so much more travel in the front that I wouldn't want for AM or trail?

  10. #10
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    After you get to a certain amount of travel 150-160+, the whole bike is usually designed for one reason, to go down. The frames have slacker head and seat angles, they are usually heavier, and the big negative is they are not as efficient of pedal designs.

    They are simply made for going down. Yes, you can pedal them up, but it wont be enjoyable.

    When you get under 5 inches of travel, bikes are designed to be able to climb as well as descend. You might not be able to descend quite as fast, but they can still do the job.

    For instance, my Marin MV is a 5 inch travel trail bike. The suspension design was created to be able to climb very efficiently and absorb bumps/hits with a bottomless feel.

    I climb as well if not better than I did with my Hardtail, and I am far more confident and capable in downhill sections.

    Hope this helps.

  11. #11
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    The biggest disadvantage is you won't want to ride as much. Your trails will be too easy with less fun.
    And the bike will be harder to pedal uphill from weight and pedal bob
    And it will not turn as fast in the tech sections. Or corner with as tight a line.
    And if it's older you will need to do maintenance from past use on the fork, shock and suspension pivot points.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    The biggest disadvantage is you won't want to ride as much. Your trails will be too easy with less fun.
    I absolutely disagree with this statement. Tons of people have fun riding bikes like this. And I can think of plenty of trails in his area that aren't going to be 'too easy' or 'less fun' on it. Probably the opposite.

    OP -you've got a number of places in your neck of the woods where that bike would be a hoot, specially if you're more interested in having fun on the descents and techy stuff than being the first one up the climbs. That's kinda my style, and my primary bike is a 165/170mm travel set-up that I use if for everything except for a select few lift-accessed trails that I dust off my full DH bike for. Mostly, I ride straight up XC with it in hilly northern Worcester county, but it also sees shuttle runs, 'freeride' type rides, and even some chairlift days.
    I'm not gonna win any XC races on it, but then again, I don't care about XC races. I'm perfectly happy to push a little extra weight up the hill and party on the way down. Know a lot of other people that think the same way too.

    From the review, sounds like this would be a fun bike if you're looking to explore the gravity and 'freeride'ish elements a little more while still having the capability to climb, just maybe not at great speeds. Trumbull, Bluff Point, Diamond Hill, Vietnam in MA, all fun places for that type of bike. If possible, what I might do is pick it up and keep your HT too. That way you've got right tools for different jobs.

    Cannondale Moto2 2008 160mm Trail Bike | Mountain Bike Review

  13. #13
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    Wow more great responses and I'm definitely seeing both sides of the coin here. Slapheadmofo, you definitely aren't too far away so you know what kinda trails we have around here. Thanks for pulling up that review somehow I missed that before.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bemiller View Post
    Wow more great responses and I'm definitely seeing both sides of the coin here. Slapheadmofo, you definitely aren't too far away so you know what kinda trails we have around here. Thanks for pulling up that review somehow I missed that before.
    No sweat man.
    Yeah, we've got a lot of variety around here. While a big bike like that can definitely be a lot of fun, there are some also some trade-offs to it. Only you can decide what works for you. And remember, you're not marrying the bike. If it catches your fancy, get it, ride it, have fun with it, learn from it. Then ditch it or sell it to a buddy and try something different. Experiment, ride all sorts of stuff. And just like you don't have to get stuck into a single paradigm when it comes to equipment, also, don't paint your riding experiences into some little niche and then stay within it. Ride lots of places, wear out lots of bikes.

  15. #15
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    It's not only the terrain but personal preferences. Some enjoy going bigger, faster and let the bike do more work, some want their skill and body to work.
    Round and round we go

  16. #16
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    Yep, that Cannondale will climb like a pig and descend like a monster truck.

    But that's a not a bad thing...

    My bike ( that I use for everything) is very similar to that bike ( Mojo HD).

    I have given up trying to be a fast climber and I don't have the time to ride enough to be a really good downhiller.

    So this bike/ the cannondale will let you show up basically anywhere, anytime and be able to ride.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    Some enjoy going bigger, faster and let the bike do more work, some want their skill and body to work.
    Always keep in mind that having skills/fitness and riding a certain type of bike are in no way mutually exclusive. This is kinda like another myth perpetuated by curmudgeons (and wanna-be curmedgeons), that the only way to gain skills is to ride old-school equipment. That's like saying everyone should learn to drive without power brakes, steering, and automatic transmissions; these skills really only pay off if you plan to spend a lot of time driving old jalopys.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Always keep in mind that having skills/fitness and riding a certain type of bike are in no way mutually exclusive.
    so are you saying this bike is an old jalopy (interesting word)? Or maybe better yet explain further.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bemiller View Post
    so are you saying this bike is an old jalopy (interesting word)? Or maybe better yet explain further.
    No, no...the bike looks fine.

    When asking advice as a beginner rider, you might find that there is a myth out there that if you don't start out riding a specific style of bike, you end up a lesser rider somehow. Usually, it's old guys that ride hardtails saying people shouldn't start on out a full suspension bike cuz 'the bike will do all the work and they won't really learn how to ride' or something along those lines. Some people seem to think the only way to get good is to suffer through thousands of jarring miles on a hardtail, whether you like it or not, like one day you're gonna get some sort of 'purist' award for it. It's basically the mtb version of 'Back in my day, we didn't even have FEET! We went everywhere on BLOODY STUMPS! And we LIKED IT!". Screw that - for some people, a big squishy bike is more fun, and fun is the point.


  20. #20
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    do not buy a used bike without checking the ebay completed auctions. You can see the going prices on the bikes you're looking at. Big common mistake that a lot of people make, end up overpaying a lot sometimes.

  21. #21
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    You'll have to do better but nice try.
    Round and round we go

  22. #22
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    Haha well for the record I decided to purchase the Cannondale. At first the idea of having that much front suspension was a bit daunting but I think that the adjustable front fork is a great asset. Furthermore all I have read about this bike is positive. I don't think it's outrageously heavy and the components are solid. So we'll see in a few days how everything looks when it shows up.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bemiller View Post
    Haha well for the record I decided to purchase the Cannondale. At first the idea of having that much front suspension was a bit daunting but I think that the adjustable front fork is a great asset. Furthermore all I have read about this bike is positive. I don't think it's outrageously heavy and the components are solid. So we'll see in a few days how everything looks when it shows up.
    Since you purchased it... Long travel bikes tend to have higher bottom bracket heights. Because of this dropper posts( dropping your post) becomes more of a necessity than on standard bikes. If this happens on your bike, it will feel tall/ nervous going downhill.

    Good luck!

  24. #24
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    I have a Moto...it is not my only bike but I ride it a lot on varying trails..true the bike is a heavy rig..it will climb..just not fast..but it will whip you into shape..at least that is what I keep telling myself when I am on a climb with it..when descending I just let it rip..tracks well..stable.. nice plush ride..I still ride hard tails....and enjoy it...but I always have fun on my Moto when I take it out for a ride..I have thought of selling it but just can not bring myself to because it is a fun bike to ride.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by saidrick View Post
    Since you purchased it... Long travel bikes tend to have higher bottom bracket heights. Because of this dropper posts( dropping your post) becomes more of a necessity than on standard bikes. If this happens on your bike, it will feel tall/ nervous going downhill.

    Good luck!
    Could you explain a little more by what you mean when you say "dropper posts" and what would precipitate me feeling "tall and nervous"??

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