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.
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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 18 of 18
  1. #1
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    Higher end 29er hardtail or lower end 26er fs?

    Hi guys,

    Trying to get more into mountain biking this summer, but I'm not sure what bike to get just yet. I'll be mostly doing single track riding, so roots, rocks, up and down hills, etc. No pavement.

    I was wondering what are the general opinions on buying a higher end ht vs a lower end fs. I'm looking at the Trek X-Caliber here: Trek Bicycle

    I can get that for $1700. Its a 29er and comes with a RockShox Reba, which is great.

    Or, I could get a Giant Trance X3 here: Trance X3 (2013) - Bikes | Giant Bicycles | Canada

    26er full suspension. RockShox XC32 on the front, Giant Air-R shock on the back. $1500

    I'm not too worried about the lower end derailleurs and shifters on the Giant, as I can upgrade that for reasonably cheap.

    Which one would be a better bike for me? Lets say I would consider upgrading the fork on the Giant next year, but I would keep it the way it is for now, is that a good option? Is the trance x3 a good frame?

    I'm open to other recommendations, but I'm not going over $1700, so please don't recommend something more expensive. If its higher then like $1750, just consider it not an option.

    Here are some videos of what trails in Edmonton look like:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMeWNJIM6F4
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEFg-3ohhnE

    I'll be doing most of my riding on trails like these, but I will go at least once / month out of town into the mountains for crazier stuff.

    Thanks

    EDIT:

    You know what, I was just thinking. I may be able to go a little higher on the full suspension, if I could also use it for green, and maybe some blue downhill trails. I go once or twice a year downhill biking, and I pay about $100/day for the rental, so I could make my money back that way.

  2. #2
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    Impossible to answer, as it depends on lots of factors - terrain, riding style, your size, etc. If possible, ride 'em both. If not, ride any 29'er HT & 26'er FS & do your own comparisons.

    And, just because you specified an upper limit & I feel it's my civic duty to confuse the situation, have a look at this 29'er FS: Airborne Bicycles. HobGoblin
    Start slow, then taper off.

  3. #3
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    I posted some videos with the main type of trails that I would be riding. I'm 5' 10''. I can't buy Airborne, because I live in Canada, and they want $300 for shipping (plus add $200 duty).

    As I said in my edit as well, I'd be willing to go up 100-200 to MAYBE $1900 if I could also use that bike for downhill trails at Kicking Horse, green and blue.

  4. #4
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    Have you ridden 29er HT yet?

  5. #5
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    Sweet looking trails! Giant makes great bike but the 26er FS huge difference between 29er HT. 29ers are monsters on the trails...I usually ride desert terrain where i live in California and my 29er handles it with ease. I use to ride the same trails with my old 26ers but my 29er has some serious STABILITY compared to my 26er HT. Good luck and hope i helped you out

  6. #6
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    Agreed - sweet trails!

    I watched the videos, or most of them - if the 2nd video becomes super technical/rough in the last part, disregard my comments. Anyway, a 29er HT can handle that terrain with ease, and would certainly feel nicer going uphill than the FS.

    I was in a similar position (and budget) last year, and ended up going with a 29er HT. It can handle most trails in my area with ease, is great on the climbs, and the higher end fork and components make a big difference. I decided that a higher-end HT would be more enjoyable and a better fit for my riding style than a mid-range FS. No regrets.

    I would generally advise against upgrading the fork next year - your money will generally go a lot further investing in a better bike (or higher end model) up front.

    Your edit "You know what, I was just thinking. I may be able to go a little higher on the full suspension" makes me cringe a bit. It's easy to get caught up in the mindset of "if I just spend a few hundred dollars more, I'll get an FS with similar components to the HT I'm looking at". Then, you see the next higher end model for a few hundred dollars more, and try to justify getting the component upgrades. It can be a bit of a downward spiral.

    Be honest about your riding style, what type of bike suits that style, and your budget. Ride some bikes, see which feels right to you, and go for it! You'll have fun either way.

    BTW, look for sales and clearances on last years models. Selection will be slim at this point, but what's left should have a pretty good discount.

  7. #7
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    Go to some demo days and try some bikes. Let one sell itself to you. This is particularly important with FS bikes - they're not all the same, and different people get along differently with different suspension linkages.

    The Trance is still not a bike for shuttle days. You may decide it's enough, but I wouldn't include that in my budget until I got to something like an Enduro or a Reign.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
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    I'd go with the Trance X they are more versatile than 29er. There's little difference between $1000 29er HT and $1700 one, but huge difference between a "budget big box" $1000 26er FS and $1500+ "big brands" FS.

    Unless you are very tall 6'3"+ or a racer, or riding smooth race course, stick with 26. Best 29er I've ridden are the "boutique" types that provide different kind of fun. Stock 29er HT are mainly XC oriented.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the info everybody.

    Right now, I'm leaning towards the Trance. Why? Well, its cheaper. Seems to have a good frame that's worth upgrading. I can potentially use it downhill. And finally, I think fs bikes are kinda cool, and I never had one, so I'd like to give it a try.

    In regards to testing em out, I can pretty much just test in the parking lot, and over there, everything seems great compared to what I owned so far.

    I'm not sure what you mean AndrwSwitch by shuttle days.

    A shop nearby is having a sale this weekend, so that may affect my choice as well. There's also the Trance x 29er, that comes up to about $1900. I'd consider it if it goes on sale.

    Oh, and I'm 5' 10'' btw.

  10. #10
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    Most of the time, I spend at least ten minutes climbing for every five minutes of descending. Maybe more, depending on the routes in question. So it's not like my mountain bike really takes that much pounding in a typical riding day.

    You mentioned going to resorts, however. So you buy your ticket, ride the lift, pound on your bike, and repeat. You can get a ton of DH runs in in a day like that, and a lot of them have man-made features. Having a lift or a truck or something take you to the top is shuttling. That's a good hint that it's time to move into a burlier class of bike.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    Damn now you have me thinking about getting 26er FS bike already have 29er hardtail that's fork upgrade away from nice. Seen a Santa Cruz Heckler for $1800 with decent specs. That way i have the best of both worlds...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Most of the time, I spend at least ten minutes climbing for every five minutes of descending. Maybe more, depending on the routes in question. So it's not like my mountain bike really takes that much pounding in a typical riding day.

    You mentioned going to resorts, however. So you buy your ticket, ride the lift, pound on your bike, and repeat. You can get a ton of DH runs in in a day like that, and a lot of them have man-made features. Having a lift or a truck or something take you to the top is shuttling. That's a good hint that it's time to move into a burlier class of bike.
    The DH stuff would really just be 1 day per year, the bike should be strong enough for that much, right?

    If anybody is interested, this is where I would be biking downhill, you can scroll down and check the beginner/intermediate video:

    Mountain Biking Summer | Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

  13. #13
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    Quick question, I can get a killer deal on a 2012 Giant Reign SX 1, but that seems to be a very downhill oriented bike. Would this bike be also good for XC stuff, or is it downhill only. Better then the Trance X?

    Reign SX 1 (2012) - Bikes | Giant Bicycles | Canada

  14. #14
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    If it's one day a year, spend the $100 renting something that's really right for the task.

    I don't know if you ski. I think that skiing is a good parallel for mountain biking. Most mountain biking is a lot like backcountry XC, or maybe randonnee skiing. Great gear for the task, but if I'm spending $75 on a lift ticket and spending all day going down steeper hills, faster, again and again, I'm going to go with my downhill skis, which are big honkin' things that it kinda sucks to try to climb on - in fact I take them off and carry them if I'm hiking a peak - but rock on the way down.

    Basically, I think that unless you do a lot of shuttle days, whatever "a lot" means to you and your riding practice, the utility of a new bike at a resort should be a non-issue. Buy it for what almost all of your riding really is, not for that one day a year.

    I feel like the discussion of shuttle days is more and more of a tangent, in this case.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  15. #15
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    Higher end 29er hardtail or lower end 26er fs?

    Quote Originally Posted by AdrianC View Post
    Quick question, I can get a killer deal on a 2012 Giant Reign SX 1, but that seems to be a very downhill oriented bike. Would this bike be also good for XC stuff, or is it downhill only. Better then the Trance X?

    Reign SX 1 (2012) - Bikes | Giant Bicycles | Canada
    Reign fits between freeride Faith and trance x. Reign is an aggressive trail bike that you can grind it uphill, but you are not going to enjoy the climb much. It makes up on the descend as it can take more than trance.

    I've ridden a sub 30lbs reign and I loved it, don't know what the 2012 sx weight but if it's close to 30-32 lbs then it sounds like a good buy, but if it's 34+lbs then I would not consider it a good one bike.

    Your mileage may vary, as my go-to bike is a 32lbs, 6.5" maverick ml8 with hammerschmidt drivetrain, it's the best climber I have in my stable, not for its travel, best climber period.

    I agree with Andrew buy the bike that you are going to use it 364 days and rent the one park day and not the other way around.





    Sent from my iPhone 4s using Tapatalk

  16. #16
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    Alright guys, well I bought a bike. Got a 2013 Trek Fuel EX 5. Saw the Trance X as well, and its a great bike, but I liked the Fuel better, and I really liked the way it looked.

    I won't be using it for downhill, I'll just rent whatever they have for the day.

    Thanks for all the help, I'm super happy with my purchase right now.

  17. #17
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    Good luck with new bike!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdrianC View Post
    Alright guys, well I bought a bike. Got a 2013 Trek Fuel EX 5. Saw the Trance X as well, and its a great bike, but I liked the Fuel better, and I really liked the way it looked.

    I won't be using it for downhill, I'll just rent whatever they have for the day.

    Thanks for all the help, I'm super happy with my purchase right now.
    I'm gonna borrow Andrew's famous line "pics or it didn't happen"

    Congrats.

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