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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    Giant v. Jamis v. Specialized

    Hello!
    I'm new to mountain biking and just went to about 10 LBSs to try out entry-level bikes. I'm a female, 5'9 and plan on riding beginner/intermediate trails and also using the bike to commute to work. I'm looking to spend between $500-$650 and definitely want a 29er.

    I rode a Trek and also tried a Novara Torero (REI brand). On both, the gear shifting felt horrible and the Trek just felt too clunky. I tried a GT but have been told this is a very low-end brand? I also tried a Giant Talon 1, which I loved but it's a little out of my price range.

    The three bikes I liked best, and are within my price range, were:

    Giant Revel 1 29er
    Jamis Exile Sport
    Specialized Myka Sport Disc 29er

    Does anyone have any suggestions for which is best? I think I'll be happy with any of them, but I don't have friends who mountain bike so it would be great to get some advice on brands/components, etc.

    Anything will help!

    Thanks guys!
    -C

  2. #2
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    It's such an individual thing, it's really hard to say. If you like all three and they fit and you like the way they ride, compare components and which ever one has the better setup, go with that one. If all else is equal, choose the one that looks best...lol...personally I'm a big fan of Specialized stuff.

  3. #3
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    There really isn't much difference between the bikes at this level. The Giant has a little more travel in the front which might be nice if you do start riding harder trails.
    One suggestion would be stick with the Giant or Specialized since they have a Suntour fork. They are low end forks, but as your budget allows, Suntour allows you to upgrade to an air fork for a reasonable amount.
    See this thread: If you want to upgrade your Suntour fork
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  4. #4
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    My wife has a 2009 Myka Elite 26er that I picked up off CL for $300. Its a nice setup.
    2009 specialized Myka Elite - BikePedia
    Those are all really good brands.
    Jamis uses a bit heavier aluminum compared to Giant or Specialized so their bikes end up being a little heavier. Also, Jamis for some reason doesn't have the resale that the other brands do. Something to take in to consideration if you plan on upgrading in the future.

    That being said 2 of my buddies ride Jamis bike and love them.

  5. #5
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    The Airborne Guardian has a good fork for trails-- the RockShox XC28. It is 675 shipped. Call them about sizing. They will personally work with you on all aspects of their bike, sizing, assembly(minor) and tuning.
    Airborne Bicycles. Guardian
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Giant v. Jamis v. Specialized-guardian.jpg  


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    The Airborne Guardian has a good fork for trails-- the RockShox XC28. It is 675 shipped. Call them about sizing. They will personally work with you on all aspects of their bike, sizing, assembly(minor) and tuning.
    Airborne Bicycles. Guardian
    That is still a heavy coil fork.

    She'd be better off with one of the other 2 and upgrading to a suntour air fork and still be in the same price range as the airborne
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  7. #7
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    The Airborne is by far the best bang for you buck. But, if I was going to buy my wife a bike and if she had to put it together I would definitely opt for a lbs purchased bike.
    You may be different, but I have noticed many of the women that trail ride in the area in either lbs having work done. Many people on this board do a lot of their own tinkering and the same advice may not work for both.
    The Specialized and the Giant are very comparable and I would buy the one you liked better when riding. If one doesn't jump out at you then purchase it from the lbs that you feel most comfortable with. This becomes important as the bike gets a little older and more maintenance is required.

  8. #8
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    Being a Talon owner would say to save a bit more and get the Talon but the truth is that you'll want to replace the fork on most of those bikes (Talon included) so the Airborne seems to be the best choice followed by the Giant.

  9. #9
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    Thanks guys! I'll check out the Airborne for sure. I appreciate the input!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by haneyjjp View Post
    There really isn't much difference between the bikes at this level. The Giant has a little more travel in the front which might be nice if you do start riding harder trails.
    Sounds familiar.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by haneyjjp View Post
    There really isn't much difference between the bikes at this level.....
    Echoing this statement some more. In this category, it's like choosing between a Civic, a Focus, or a Sentra. There isn't one that stands out more that the others. Try them all if you can, and it'll be up to you to decide if one has some intangible factor that draws you more than the others.

    I also wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Airborne, but keep in mind that buying any of those other bikes from an LBS might also get you a free service plan. You'd be on your own with the Airborne.
    ~Always avoid alliteration.

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  12. #12
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    There is a major difference between the low end suntour fork on these bikes and the fork on the Guardian. No adjustable rebound damping(pogo) and the internal metal bushings are not designed for the multiple hits and speed of trail riding-- they fail. You can add 175 to the price of those suntour fork bikes for an air fork that weighs 5lbs-- the same as the XC28. Or you can add 240 for a 3.8lb Recon Gold and you would have a noticeably better bike.
    Tuneups are easy to learn and you then can help yourself and others on the trail where no lbs gives road service. You have to walk out.

  13. #13
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    The Airborne is a good bike and a good value, but that aside, not everyone wants to do mail order.

    With the other bikes, just go with the one that feels the best. They're all pretty similar, so the "feel" of it is the biggest thing.

    A slightly better component (other than fork) isn't going to make up for a poor fit or less than comfortable bike. You'll be happiest on the one that fits you the best.

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