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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    GT Karakoram 2.0 or Giant Talon 1

    Im new to Mountian biking. However, I do have a background with dirt bikes. I rented a Talon in Big Bear a few weekends ago and really enjoyed myself. I have never ridden a 29er before so that was interesting. I really liked it but really like the Karakoram as well. I havent had time to sit on the GT. I was wondering what your input was?? I know nothing about components except what i have read and what the LBS have explained to me. I will probably use this as a rec bike but would like to get in some fun in on the trails. What do you guys think?

  2. #2
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    While I do recommend that you ride both bikes in order to make an informed decision, the reality is that between the two bikes you listed the real difference between them is primarily going to be determinable by the overall quality of the components on each bike.

    How can you tell which components are better than others?

    As a comparison the ranking for component levels generally goes like this (from lowest/cheapest to highest/more expensive):

    Shimano Parts:

    SIS/Tourney/No name at all (cheapest possible) - Terrible
    Altus - Poor
    Acera - Poor/fair
    Alivio - Fair
    Deore/Deore Shadow - Good
    LX/SLX - Very Good
    XT - Excellent
    XTR - Superior

    SRAM Parts:

    X3 (cheapest) - poor
    X4 - Fair
    X5 - Good
    X7 - Very Good
    X9 - Excellent
    X0 - Superior
    XX - Superior

    In general, Shimano Deore or SRAM X5 or higher parts are what are considered the threshold for "decent quality" components for off-road use and will generally hold up to single track and more advance riding far better than lower level ones.

    As to the forks, the Karakoram 2.0 comes with a Rock Shox fork which will perform considerably better for technical use over the Suntour fork on the Talon 1.

    So, all things considered, if the prices you are looking at are close, then the GT is probably the better buy.
    ~ 2011 GT Avalanche 2.0
    ~ 1993 Diamondback Topanga
    ~ 2012 Diamondback Overdrive Expert

  3. #3
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    +1 for the Karakoram. I sat on a few bikes, but when I came across the GT it fit me great for me. It has been a solid bike so far.

  4. #4
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    I am going to sit on a GT this weekend and ride a giant again. We shall see.

  5. #5
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    Looks like I leaning towards a 2013 Karakoram 4.0 due to the price range. $525. Any thought?

  6. #6
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    If you go to blueskycycling.com you can get a 2011 karakoram 2.0 for $519. As long as you have a little know-how to put it together it is a killer deal and better components. They also have a 3.0 for $319. That is the model I got. I loved the flat black and allowed me a little extra money left over to upgrade some parts.

  7. #7
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    The Talon part spec excluding the fork is superior IMO, tested both and went with the Talon.

  8. #8
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    $99 fork minimum upgrade for a Suntour. This has adjustable rebound damping.
    BlueSkyCycling.com - Rock Shox XC 28 TK Mg 29er Coil Fork

    This works for the Giant because he already owns it.
    Last edited by eb1888; 09-04-2012 at 06:05 PM.

  9. #9
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    Yeah thats what i planned on doing EB. Upgrade the Forks then the drivetrain shortly after. I rented the Giant again this weekend. I had a blast on it but i still really want to ride the 13 GT.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianPerez View Post
    Yeah thats what i planned on doing EB. Upgrade the Forks then the drivetrain shortly after. I rented the Giant again this weekend. I had a blast on it but i still really want to ride the 13 GT.
    The 4.0 needs upgrades that put the price past an Airborne Guardian's 675 shipped. That bike has the right components and no upgrades.
    .Airborne Bicycles. Guardian

    The fork has the most impact on trail performance and tires are a close second.

  11. #11
    Ba ba ba bird bird bird
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    I'd buy the bike I rode and liked.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattC555 View Post
    I'd buy the bike I rode and liked.
    That works great if you are at a demo day at area trails. But the Manufacturers and LBS do not bring entry level bikes to demo days for a reason. Parking lot rides won't tell you much.. Fit can be fine tuned with cockpit components
    No one bothers to learn about forks. That is the most significant performance component on a mountain bike.

  13. #13
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    +1 to the 2011 GT Karakoram from Blue Sky ($550 shipped + tax is unreal!)
    Picked mine up a few weeks ago, and although I immediately replaced the Dart III fork with a Recon Gold tk (Ebay $180 if your patient) it has been an amazing bike so far. I've really been pushing it (doing some moderate downhill in Northern Michigan) and haven't had any problems.

  14. #14
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    My point was that he HAS ridden the Talon on trails and liked it. I rode about a bunch of bikes before buying mine, and fit varied pretty dramatically between all of the bikes. I bought the one I liked the most. Easy decision for me.

    If I was to order an entry level bike, the Karakoram looks like a sweet deal. Airborne seems to make some really great bikes for the money too.

    Good Luck!

  15. #15
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    Well I brought home the 13 Karakoram 4.0 tonight. After taking a 30 minute ride I took down a relatively bump dirt road I was very impressed. The bike seemed lighter and I had way more speed than I did when I rode Talon this past weekend. Maybe I was just excited but I could really tell a huge difference. Not only that but the shifting was alot smoother probably due in part that it's brand new and the talon was a rental. The ride was smooth really comfortable and extremely quiet. I haven't begun to adjust anything as of yet. I'll probably mess with that tomorrow. I just wanted to thank everyone for there time and input. I have learned alot since joining Mtbr.

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