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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    ... and if we just ... Help a noob - Trek 4300 disc vs Cannondale F4 Euro model?

    So I'm new to the MTB world, did BMX last about 10yr ago, and I'm ready to buy a bike. I plan on riding primarily singletracks in the Charlotte area such as usnwc, for those who may be familiar with the area. I have a limited budget, about $500, have been shopping and researching like crazy the past week. I've been by 6 local shops, spoke to a few bike nuts at work, and have been on countless websites. I have a pretty good idea of what I want now and I think these two fit the bill perfectly. Both lightly used, in great condition, all original, from people I know, but I'm having trouble deciding and determining value.

    2011 Trek 4300 disc, bought 6mo ago used very little, wife forcing him to sell - $400
    26", Spinner 300 fork, Promax DSK-907 hydraulic brakes, Bontrager Ranger double wall wheels, alum frame, Shimano Altus & Alivio drivetrain, Acera shifters, 24speed... you guys know what this is (+ spare tubes, water bottle & cage)

    [s]2010[/s] 2009 Cannondale F4 European version, bought 3yr ago and ~300 road miles put on it before he bought a road bike and let this sit - $???? (MSRP $1060, he paid $950)
    26", Avid Juicy 3 hydraulic discs, 317Disc wheels, X9 rear der, Deore fr der, X5 shifter, RockShox Tora SL air, SRAM FireX crank, 27speed (+ spare seat, tube, set of road tires)

    Both bikes fit me well, but the guy with the Cannondale hasn't named a price yet. He gave me the bike to try out for a week but I have to tell the Trek guy by Sunday night my decision. What would be a fair price to offer for the Cannondale? Based upon price research of the US model, I'd say $600-650 but it looks like the Euro version has better components, no?

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by Jerz_subbie; 09-03-2012 at 04:03 PM.

  2. #2
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    The fork on the Trek is best for bike paths, dirt roads and light duty trails at lower speeds. The Tora SL will give better performance on singletrack. $450 sounds good as a price. As a comparison a 29er Airborne Guardian shipped is 675 with x5 components and a RS XC 28TK fork-- a ccil fork with adjustable rebound dampening. In the 650 range between the Cannondale and a new bike, I would buy new.
    .Airborne Bicycles. Guardian
    Another is a Diamondback Overdrive Comp for about the same price. It has a RS XC 30TK.
    Generally, something with a Suntour fork is less suited to singletrack. So lower priced versions offered by Diamondback with that fork will eventually lead you to buy a new bike or a new fork.

  3. #3
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    I would go with the Cannondale. if you like the price

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    The fork on the Trek is best for bike paths, dirt roads and light duty trails at lower speeds. The Tora SL will give better performance on singletrack. $450 sounds good as a price. As a comparison a 29er Airborne Guardian shipped is 675 with x5 components and a RS XC 28TK fork-- a ccil fork with adjustable rebound dampening. In the 650 range between the Cannondale and a new bike, I would buy new.
    . Airborne Bicycles Guardian.
    Another is a Diamondback Overdrive Comp for about the same price. It has a RS XC 30TK.
    Generally, something with a Suntour fork is less suited to singletrack. So lower priced versions offered by Diamondback with that fork will eventually lead you to buy a new bike or a new fork.
    I've looked at the Gaurdian and like it a lot but it's definitely out of my price range as is the OD comp. I only have $500 to spend and understand that it won't get me too much in a new bike. If I went new I'd be going with a 2013 Revel 1 29er, 2012 Fuji Nevada 2.0 or 2012 Trek Marlin (all on sale locally $500-550) but all are a little shy of what I really want. This is why I'm looking used. Honestly I may not even be able to get the cannondale if he wants too much for it but I'm optimistic.
    Last edited by Jerz_subbie; 09-01-2012 at 09:56 PM.

  5. #5
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    Any other input? I have to make a decision, and offer on the Cannondale, tonight.

  6. #6
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    Well, you say the fair market value for the Cannondale is $600-$650, but you've only got $500. I say offer the Cannondale guy $500. If he turns it down, go for the other.

  7. #7
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    Also, keep in mind you'll need a helmet, gloves and padded shorts are a really good idea.

  8. #8
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    Already have gloves that I used for my dirtbike & ATV and just bought a hemlet.

    I got a response from Bicycle blue book minutes ago and they valued the Cannondale at $474, which is surprisingly low but will work in my favor.

  9. #9
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    Great - good luck! BTW, the brake pads will give you an idea of how much the bike has been ridden. If they are the first set and barely worn = slightly used. If it's on it's fourth set of replacements = heavy use. Save $50 for some good padded shorts.

  10. #10
    gran jefe
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    For a 3 year old bike, especially a 26er, half of original retail is about right. He might not like it, but that is the market.

  11. #11
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    Well I bought the Cannondale for $600 with $100+ in extras (extra set of Bontrager street tires, Bontrager Nebula Plus seat, and spare tube). I stretched my budget beyond the max but I think it'll be worth it in the long run.

  12. #12
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    Congrats! Have fun and post pics

  13. #13
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    Went for a short 3mi ride today to check out some new trails and this bike is sweet! The shifters will take some getting used to since the large lever on one side shifts up, the other side it shifts down, just seems counter-intuitive to me but I'm used to BMX and big-box mtb's.

    After doing some more research on the serial number I discovered it's actually a 2009 F4 CO2 SL, which makes little-to-no difference to me.

  14. #14
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    This sounds like a good result. Slightly older bike. Decent components. Just about in your budget. You now have a bike to ride on trails. It's all good so far. I would be happy with that deal.

    Congratulations!

  15. #15
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    Awesome! Lose the reflectors and dork disk

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