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.
Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    28

    High & Midend Equiptment

    Howdy.


    I'm having a lot of problems with it comes to bicycle equiptment. I just don't know what to pick. So far I've had several bikes, but they all came preassembled. Meaning I never picked any of the parts. I have no idea which manufacturer is better and which is worse. And it's really frustrating. My question is, what is the difference between midend and high end bicycle equiptment? Let's take my situation for instance. I'm not a beginner, I ride a lot. Today I did nearly 30 miles. I own a four year old Trek 8000. I don't compete and never will. So I'd like to know, what's the difference between let's say an LX, XT and XTR derailleur. What do you guys look for when chosing highend equiptment? I need to know this so I can choose stuff for myself. I mean, currently I have an XT rear and LX front derailleur - will I even notice any difference if I spend big bucks and go all XTR? I ride fast and aggresivly. And I'm not just interested in transmissions. What about front/rear shocks -- with same amount of travel? Hubs? Brakes (regular & hydraulic)? I know I dont need the latest and greatest equiptment but I do want to understand how to distinguish between something only pros need and something that might make a difference in my everyday biking experience.

    Anyway, I really hope I get some help. Today my front derauiller went to sh-- so I need a new one. I'm thinking about getting an XTR one. But next year I want to change nearly everything. Maybe go hydraulic, completely new derauillers, new hubs, shocks. And at that time I'd like to have some idea what to look for.


    Hope I made my question concise and not too long. Thanks in advance.


    EDIT; Forgor to mention (don't know if it matters) -- I do XC & in city riding exclusively.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    2,905
    xtr and x0 is a waste of money. theres really no justifying them, you buy them because you want an xtr/x0 part on your bike. the lx stuff is about twice as good as the deore stuff, the the xt stuff is a little better than the lx stuff. xtr and x0 stuff is just lighter and drastically more expensive. i like xt stuff because its not that much more than lx and its a sure bet on rock solid reliability.

    theres a HUGE difference between forks and shocks, thats where all your money should go. honestly i could live with a full deore drivetrain if it had great suspension, but a full xtr drivetrain with some rst crap would be terrible. you're 100% of the ride using your suspension, it'll have the biggest impact on ride quality.

    a good brake is essential. doesnt have to be expensive, i have cheap hayes 9's that im really growing to love and that work fantastic. i didnt like my bb7's at all, but many people do and they are a good enough brake.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    28
    Awesome info, thanks! Just what I was looking for as far as the transmission stuff! So I know to buy XT stuff. As far as manufacturers for all I know is Shimano. Are there others that offer more bang for buck? There's an "OR" between forks and shocks there, right? ATM I have shocks on. Could never go back to solid forks. So let's talk about front shocks for a minute (my bike has no rear shock but I'm thinking about getting a Trek Fuel EX next year, but it doesn' t matter right now). I probably don't need anything more than 13 cm, when it comes to travel right? What else...Hm. Air or oil? What's the difference? Mainteinance, extra costs, durability, etc. Also, please list a few good manufacturers. Not much point in suggestiong specific models since I wont be buying anything this season.

    I really want hydraulic brakes. But I'm a bit worried. How reliabale are they? At first I thought that the worst thing that could happen is the front brake locking up (could this happen? But thinking about it...What is a line breaks and the brakes bleed out. How do you stop then? :o I'm also interested in the same stuff as with shocks. Mainteinance, extra costs, durability, etc.

    I know I'm a lot of work so thanks for helping. ;p

  4. #4
    Probably drunk right now
    Reputation: Ken in KC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    6,766

    My 2 pennies...

    Quote Originally Posted by Slycer
    Howdy.


    I'm having a lot of problems with it comes to bicycle equiptment. I just don't know what to pick. So far I've had several bikes, but they all came preassembled. Meaning I never picked any of the parts. I have no idea which manufacturer is better and which is worse. And it's really frustrating. My question is, what is the difference between midend and high end bicycle equiptment? Let's take my situation for instance. I'm not a beginner, I ride a lot. Today I did nearly 30 miles. I own a four year old Trek 8000. I don't compete and never will. So I'd like to know, what's the difference between let's say an LX, XT and XTR derailleur. What do you guys look for when chosing highend equiptment? I need to know this so I can choose stuff for myself. I mean, currently I have an XT rear and LX front derailleur - will I even notice any difference if I spend big bucks and go all XTR? I ride fast and aggresivly. And I'm not just interested in transmissions. What about front/rear shocks -- with same amount of travel? Hubs? Brakes (regular & hydraulic)? I know I dont need the latest and greatest equiptment but I do want to understand how to distinguish between something only pros need and something that might make a difference in my everyday biking experience.

    Anyway, I really hope I get some help. Today my front derauiller went to sh-- so I need a new one. I'm thinking about getting an XTR one. But next year I want to change nearly everything. Maybe go hydraulic, completely new derauillers, new hubs, shocks. And at that time I'd like to have some idea what to look for.


    Hope I made my question concise and not too long. Thanks in advance.


    EDIT; Forgor to mention (don't know if it matters) -- I do XC & in city riding exclusively.
    I have some opinions. Keep in mind, "best" is relative based on personal experiences. So you're not going to obtain a "best" answer. My opinions are:

    Front Derailer
    XTR front derailers are a complete and utter waste of money.. A front derailer only needs to move the chain to engage the shift ramps on the chain rings. An XT (or LX for that matter) front derailer functions just fine. You will not receive any performance increase with an XTR front derailer.

    I run an XT front DR.

    Rear Derailer
    For mountain biking, I don't feel that spending a bunch of money on a component that is held in place with a 5mm bolt and sits outside the protection of the frame is a good use of my cash. It has to work, it has to be durable (for what it is) but it doesn't have to be top of the line. If I were a sponsored racer and didn't pay for my own parts, my opinion may be different.

    I run a SRAM X9 rear DR.


    Brakes
    Disc Brakes> Hyd.
    Hydraulic Disc breaks provide superior stopping power, aren't prone to fading and offer fantastic modulation. They're also the most expensive brakes you can buy (in general) and are impossible to fix in the event of a catastrophic failure in a remote environment.

    Disc Brakes> Mech
    Mechanical disc brakes offer good great stopping power, don't often fase and offer acceptable modulation. They're more affordable than discs and provide really good performance. They're also easier to fix in an emergency than hydraulic discs.

    Disc Brakes> Cheap and Crappy
    Low end disc brakes are a safety hazard, IMO. They function worse than decent V-brakes and shouldn't be on bikes. These are mostly on low end bikes as a "feature".

    Disc Conclusion
    I know there are lots of options for brakes. In my opinion, the two best options are Hayes for hydraulic discs and Avids for mechanical. I run some model of Avid mechanicals. It's been so long since I've done anything other than replace the pads that I couldn't tell you the model.



    V-brakes
    V-brakes run the range from expensive and great to cheap and not so great. Decent v-brakes work well unless you're pointed downhill for extended periods of time.

    Over time, the pads will wear through your rims and they'll split.

    Shocks/Forks
    There are so many options that it's impossible to provide you with even a qualified opinion. I run a Marzocchi Marathon SL air fork on one of my bikes and a Rockk Shox Physlo Coil on my other bike. They both function fine.

    My FS bike has a rear shock that isn't supported any more. When it fails, I'll have to go shop it. I think Fox may be the only game in town these days?

    Hubs
    It's hard to beat Shimano XT hubs. I don't run them but it's due to the nature of my wheelsets. I run a Mavic XL wheelset (and hubs) that funciton fine. I also run a custom wheelset (www.speeddream.com) with Hadley hubs. Both are fine. As in they function, they engage when they're supposed to and they're fairly easy to rebuild.

    Conclusion
    XTR and SRAM XO are great component sets. But unless you're a sponsored racer, are running less than 10% body fat and really think you'll notice a few grams weight difference over the course of a 2-3 hour race, then there's no reason to go XTR. XT or LX work fine and cost less.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    2,905
    i have dt swiss hubs now and im really not impressed with them.

    cable discs you have to maintain and adjust frequently. same with hydraulics, but you really dont adjust them ever. even if my hydros broke twice as often (they sure dont!) id still run them because they feel SO much nicer. out of the box they might need *minor* adjustments that are easy and fast to do at home with basic tools.. but its fairly easy and worth it.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    28
    Those are some super replys guys, thanks! Going to bed now, but I Iearned a lot. Front and back XT derailer is the way to go. Also, gonna try hydraulic brakes.



    Still, the more the merrier. So if anyone has any more suggestions, please share them!

  7. #7
    Bicyclochondriac.
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    13,037
    Quote Originally Posted by Slycer
    Awesome info, thanks! Just what I was looking for as far as the transmission stuff! So I know to buy XT stuff. As far as manufacturers for all I know is Shimano. Are there others that offer more bang for buck? There's an "OR" between forks and shocks there, right? ATM I have shocks on. Could never go back to solid forks. So let's talk about front shocks for a minute (my bike has no rear shock but I'm thinking about getting a Trek Fuel EX next year, but it doesn' t matter right now). I probably don't need anything more than 13 cm, when it comes to travel right? What else...Hm. Air or oil? What's the difference? Mainteinance, extra costs, durability, etc. Also, please list a few good manufacturers. Not much point in suggestiong specific models since I wont be buying anything this season.

    I really want hydraulic brakes. But I'm a bit worried. How reliabale are they? At first I thought that the worst thing that could happen is the front brake locking up (could this happen? But thinking about it...What is a line breaks and the brakes bleed out. How do you stop then? I'm also interested in the same stuff as with shocks. Mainteinance, extra costs, durability, etc.

    I know I'm a lot of work so thanks for helping. ;p
    KiKC explained the drivetrain and brakes pretty well.

    All front forks are called forks. There are rigid forks and suspension forks. Shocks refer to the rear shock. As far as which fork, you are correct in that if you are not getting one until next year there is little reason to choose one now, but I would not buy something in it's first year of production, so it may be worth looking into what is out there now with a proven track record. With that in mind, don't get too caught up in the brands, but pay more attention to he particular models. Rock Shox, Fox, Marzocchi, Magura, and Manitou all have models worth considering, and most have at least one worth avoiding. If you want to stick with a safer brand where you don't need to do too much research, Fox Forks are all pretty top notch, they don't make any entry level stuff. Rock Shox is a pretty reliable bet as well, and has good solid entry level forks as well as high end stuff. I'm not so familiar with the track record or their forks over 140mm, but the Reba, Pike, Revalation, Tora, are all pretty solid. Marzocchi used to put out the best forks out there, and I've owned a few gems, but lately they have had some real disasters in QC in shorter travel forks (witnessed a few recently first hand), and I am very leary of them. Manitou has always been hit or miss. A little more hit than miss, but you really need to look into the particular model before buying it, and there is no way I would buy anything from them in it's first year of production.

    Go over to the brakes to get the dirt on hydraulics vs mech. Go do a search and find more reading than you will care to go through. I would not loose too much sleep about a line braking on the trail. The chances are remote, and it can still happen with a cable line, though it is slightly more likely that you could repair a cable. In any event, you do have two brakes, and I have managed to get back on one just fine in the past (just take it slower)

  8. #8
    Bikecurious
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    301
    My limited experience with brakes:
    My bike came with mech Avid BB5's, not super impressed and noticed a good bit of brake fade, upgraded the rear to a BB7 (awesome price, about the cost of 2 sets of pads!). They've been great, and from the reviews I've read others have found them to be a big step up from the BB5s. They seem to pretty much be the top-of-the-line mechs, and very reasonably priced, especially the 2008s, for some reason. When test riding bikes I rode some with hydraulics and did notice the increased stopping power, which was impressive. But they are pricey, and I'm a fan of the KISS method (keep it simple, stupid). Looks like you're past the V-brakes, but to me it seems that V-brakes lock up the wheel hard and fast, so if you were into more tricks/trials stuff they might be something to look into. Discs just stop so nice and smooth, and you never have to worry about water/mud/sand/whatever, they'll stop just the same. Plus they tend to squeel so you can use that to alert bears that you are coming. Not a lot of experience with the forks, but I've got a Manitou and from what I understand most of their models offer little functional adjustability, but as far as reliability they seem to be good.
    Howdy Doody's past the House of Aquarius

  9. #9
    billiebob
    Guest
    My only experience with hydraulics are the shimano XTs on my iron horse. I love them and wouldn't trade them for anything. They stop my 200+ lbs FAST with very good modulation. I have had them for 2 years and have neither serviced them nor had a line break even in 2 big crashes that resulted in ER trips. Pads last a while as well.

    It is so nice to be free of the constant adjustments I had to do on my cantilever brakes.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •