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  1. #1
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    New question here. Help me get back in the saddle

    I use to race mtn bikes about 8 years ago, but I've been out of the game for a while now. Since then technology has passed me by. There are new bike companies, new size wheels, everything's new!!!

    I need some opinions from you guys on helping me pick out a new bike.

    Criteria:

    Budget: $1,000 or less
    Manufacturer: I've always ridden Cannondale, but am interested in Yeti as well.
    Hardtail/Full: Honestly, I could go either way here. I've always ridden hardtail, but am interested in trying a full suspension bike.
    New/Used: I don't mind picking up something that's a few years old.
    Wheels: Again, I'm open to suggestions, but I'm leaning towards 29er.
    Riding style: I doubt I will start racing again, but I ride hard and enjoy challenging myself, so I need a bike that will take the hard line without any problem.

    I know that's a lot, but any info would be appreciated. There's so much out there I just don't know where to begin.

    TIA

  2. #2
    Gemini Lights
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    What type of riding are you planning on doing? I think it would help narrow down the choices a lot.

    You can try out Giant's selection. They have very good deals and a range of bikes in their line. Each bike has maybe 2-4 component groups depicted by the number in their title. 0 is high-end component sets and 4 is the lower end.

    You would be amazed that you can still obtain a new bike with the budget you have. Try looking at last years (2010) Giant XTCs, XTC 29ers, Giant Trance Xs or Giant Reigns. They are hardtails, 5" and 6" trail bikes respectively. I would highly recommend the Trance Xs, I have ridden them myself and they are superb. If you get one of the lower end versions, you can take the time to build up your own components if you wish. The maestro frame in itself is a very good deal (you can check out the MSRP on the frame itself on Giant's website).

    After a quick look at prices for you I can gather:
    2011 Giant Trance X4 - $1229.99 (Fullerton Bicycle - Full service bike store in Fullerton, CA and Buena Park, CA)
    2011 Giant XTC 29er 2 - $1129.99 (Fullerton Bicycle - Full service bike store in Fullerton, CA and Buena Park, CA) *29er Hardtail

    Couldn't find any 2010 models. You may try looking on EBay as well with keywords "Giant Trance" and "Giant XTC".

    After looking at these bikes, I too may be interested in a 29er hardtail..

    Good luck with your search and feel free to post what you find to get opinions.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini Lights View Post
    What type of riding are you planning on doing? I think it would help narrow down the choices a lot.
    Thanks for the reply, I'll look into those bikes. In response to the type of riding: I'm not sure what all styles there are. I ride trails and I prefer taking the harder/more technical lines. Hope that helps.

  4. #4
    Gemini Lights
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    Quote Originally Posted by down2ride View Post
    Thanks for the reply, I'll look into those bikes. In response to the type of riding: I'm not sure what all styles there are. I ride trails and I prefer taking the harder/more technical lines. Hope that helps.
    The main disciplines are XC (Cross Country), AM (All-Mountain), FR (Freeride), DH (Downhill).

    They are in order of less aggressive terrain to more aggressive terrain. The bikes tend to span like this:
    XC: HT - 5" travel
    AM: 5" - 6" travel
    FR: 6"- 7" travel
    DH: 8"+ travel

    Edit: You can also use HTs to ride a greater range of disciplines, due to the nature of the strength in HT frames.
    Last edited by Gemini Lights; 09-17-2011 at 08:49 PM.

  5. #5
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    Welcome back to the sport. Hopefully this time around it leads you to places yet to be discovered both figurative and literal. Biking has come a long way since you left. The bike still looks the same in large part but such changes as the geometry of a frame as well as materials have come a long way. One of the largest changes has come with regard to suspension. The damping and adjustability of modern suspension is absolutely amazing and if you know what you are doing you can essentially have a custom tuned bike straight from the factory.

    It sounds to me like you were a cross country rider and are interested in more of the all mountain style of riding. Generally an all mountain bike has between 5-6 inches of travel. Most of them are full suspension and extremely efficient when pedaling (another place where suspension has developed a lot). This translates to a bike with plenty of suspension to take that technical line you are interested in but then climb back to the top comfortably so you can do it again.

    Yeti as well as Cannondale are awesome bikes. Unless you are going to go used, Yeti may be too pricey. I would say don't limit yourself to one particular brand but find some you like and see if you can test them out before deciding.
    2012 Intense M9
    2012 Pivot Mach 5.7 Carbon
    2008 Look 595
    2007 Custom Litespeed Sewanee

  6. #6
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    In that case I probably would put myself in the All Mountain category.

  7. #7
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Three big changes in the last eight years.

    -29ers don't suck.
    -FS bikes don't suck as much.
    -The dollar sucks, and $1000 isn't much bike anymore.

    If you've got the patience for it, I'd say you're best off getting something used. Where it used to get you a LX blend and a real fork, now that's a $1600 bike. Sucks.

    I don't find I like FS bikes when I demo them. By the time they're good enough climbers not to frustrate me, I don't quite see the point anymore. I try to stay open to the one that will change my mind, though. I was very impressed by a 29" hardtail I tried the other day.

    There's a lot of confusion around all the new riding styles that the marketing people have made up. When it comes to bike labels, my experience is that AM bikes are pretty heavily built, with slacked out head tubes - they're not climbers, or at least not singletrack climbers. Trail is just less racy XC - they really both do the same things.

    I think you'd be fine with just about anything from the trail or XC category. Just make an intelligent tires choice. So, see what's available in your area. AM... I dunno. You need to be really sure that you're about descending man-made stuff, I think.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
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    Thanks guys for all the info. I'm going to need to spend some time reading on the site.

    Any specific bikes that you would recommend? Doesn't have to be Cannondale/Yeti.

  9. #9
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Major-brand bikes probably drop their value faster than boutique bikes. So in the US, one of the big brands is likely to get you a little better deal.

    Check out bikepedia.com for a pretty complete list of brands and models. When you start browsing Craig's List and EBay it's a good way to see what the original specs and MSRP on a bike were.

    If you consider a FS, make sure you research the particular design and year. Some weren't so durable, and some still don't work very well.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
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    Great resource, thanks for sharing that. That will help me sift through all the bike and make heads and tails off everything.

    I just have one more questions: Are there any manufacturers I should avoid?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by down2ride View Post
    I just have one more questions: Are there any manufacturers I should avoid?
    I think the obvious ones are the department store bikes but I don't think that was even a question.
    2012 Intense M9
    2012 Pivot Mach 5.7 Carbon
    2008 Look 595
    2007 Custom Litespeed Sewanee

  12. #12
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    check out the Trek Remedy
    2014 Trek Remedy 8 29er
    2011 Trek Scratch Air 8
    2011 Reign 2
    2008 Specialized p.2

  13. #13
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    I like the Giant XTC - very nice.

  14. #14
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I love how different the last two bike suggestions are.

    OP - I made a bit of an assumption myself - when you said you used to race, did you mean one of the XC disciplines?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  15. #15
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    Here are a couple of the organizations I participated in. Maybe this will help with the type of riding I did.

    TMBRA - Texas Mountain Bike Racing Association
    24 Hours of Rocky Hill - Texas Original Adventure Race Company - Terra Firma Racing

    I've never tried to classify my riding style before, but from what I can tell it's either XC and/or AM.

  16. #16
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    It had occurred to me that downhill is mountain bike racing too.

    Anyway, I think it would take you a serious attitude adjustment to be happy on a lot of AM FS bikes. I'm sure there are exceptions, and someone will jump all over mentioning them, but all but one of the FS bikes I've tried got pretty incoherent when I got out of the saddle. (The Giant Anthem impressed me. I suspect others in there line might too.)
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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