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.
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  1. #1
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    Hmmm....already unhappy with my bike. $1k upgrade path to an HT 29?

    Weird -- a month ago, I wouldn't have known what an "HT 29" was. Now I want one.

    Long story longer, I've been riding about six weeks, or so, and really like it. I'm an older rider, but this is really clicking as a sport and exercise. Trying to get out at least 2x a week...took a skills class. East coast, single-wide (lots of roots) and double-wide (gravel) trails. In 2014 I could see trying some local XC races for fun.

    Anyway, we have a big chain outlet store nearby, from which I bought a 26" MB, for about $600 with tax and some minor accessories. I knew nothing at the time (and but little more, now). It's a good bike, AFAICT from my limited experience, but it's heavy, and I'm sure some of the components match the price point, like FS and tires.

    I recently tried someone's 29 bike, on a very short ride through the woods and think I want one. It was different but different good. I have around another $1k I can justify spending on a bike so:

    1) Return the 26 for full credit (I *assume* the store will do so: they promise lifetime guarantee of satisfaction) and get whatever they offer for ~$1200-1600. Probably something like a GT Zaskar Comp or Elite? This leaves me with one bike and beyond choosing an XL frame, there's not much 'fitting' at this store. I could take the refund and go elsewhere I guess, but bad karma, and I'm not that mercenary.

    2) Keep the 26, and add a 29. I'm guessing a back-up bike isn't a bad idea, and we've got a small piece of property near the coast where I bike ride. I have an old POS bike there I got for free, that I could happily replace with my current bike. I could see it being handy if a friend wanted to ride, as well. Now the question is - spend $1k or so at one of the 'better' mail-order places here on this forum and trust I'll be happy? Spend $1k at a 'real' LBS and get fitted, but perhaps not get the same value? Spend $1k on CL or the classifieds on a 2011 or 2010 model and presumably get a *really* nice bike, but get no warranty or recourse?

    Tricky. There's no reason on earth I can't keep what I have and just ride it into shavings but I do think, I would have started with a different bike had I known a bit more.

  2. #2
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    First, I doubt any bike shop will take a bike back with a full store credit if youve been riding it 2 times a week for six weeks..

    2nd, there is a good chance, since youre only six weeks in, in another six weeks when you know a bit more than you even know now, you might change your mind again.

    I suggest you keep riding what you already have.

  3. #3
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    Hmmm....already unhappy with my bike. $1k upgrade path to an HT 29?

    Performance Bike will take it back. Or they used to.
    Soulforce Cycling | Riding apparel from size Small to 5XL. Visit us at - http://www.soulforcecycling.com

  4. #4
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    REI does too.
    If you are already thinking of changing why not get a FS bike?
    Vincit qui patitur
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  5. #5
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    Yup, REI will for sure.

    If you are not satisfied with the bike and their guarantee says you can return it, than return it and be happy with your purchase.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by owtdorz View Post
    If you are already thinking of changing why not get a FS bike?
    Because he said he has another $1k to throw on top of the $600 he already spent.
    $1000 - 1600 buys a great hard tail but it is hard to get a good full suspension for that price.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  7. #7
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    go for a hardtail on that price point if want to buy new

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by owtdorz View Post
    REI does too.
    If you are already thinking of changing why not get a FS bike?
    Yep, I gave mine to REI not too long ago...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SandSpur View Post
    First, I doubt any bike shop will take a bike back with a full store credit if youve been riding it 2 times a week for six weeks..

    2nd, there is a good chance, since youre only six weeks in, in another six weeks when you know a bit more than you even know now, you might change your mind again.

    I suggest you keep riding what you already have.
    For the first point, I actually agree with you, but P* (where I bought it) and R* do seem to provide this guarantee....It seems amazingly liberal, and I wouldn't abuse it by just asking for all my money back, and walking, but my conscience would be clear if I returned and 'upgraded.'

    We will possibly see in practice how this works.

    For your second point....Maybe. I'm not aiming for my dream bike, and I'm sure that will continue to change as I progress. But it's a chance to rewind and say: OK. Let's start out from a different point, beyond a relatively cheap ( I don't think $550 is insignificant, certainly, but it's a ground floor) 26" bike to something I think I will enjoy even more. This is, in fact, a point probably in favor of an LBS who might have up-sold me originally, or pointed out that the 29" bikes are vastly more popular now, and I should at least try one....

    I think a HT, because I'd rather get a better HT than an entry-level FS.

  10. #10
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    I would return and not feel guilty about not buying from them. But if they had a bike that met my needs then I would go ahead and buy from them, especially since the new bike will have the guarantee.

    abuse is if you knew you were just going to ride it and return it or if you rode it twice a week for a year then returned it.

  11. #11
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    Well if youre going for whats more popular now, youre going to have to also look at all the new 650B's.. thats the newest trend every manufacturer is pushing right now.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SandSpur View Post
    Well if youre going for whats more popular now, youre going to have to also look at all the new 650B's.. thats the newest trend every manufacturer is pushing right now.

    He isn't wanting to change because it is "more popular", he is wanting to switch because he rode one and he liked it better.

    Not to mention Performance bike where he is purchasing probably has a really slim selection of 650b bikes (if any at all).
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  13. #13
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    Return for the bike you want. There. REI/Performance (if that is where you go it) take things back 100% no hassle.....why not use their policy, that is what it is for! Get the nicest 29er HT you can get and ride happy.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

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  14. #14
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    I agree with the OP, I'd feel hard pressed to just return the bike after so long, no matter the guarantee, but I would return it and see if they had something that would suit and get that along with the credit back fro the old bike. If the store you got it from doesn't have anything that meets your fancy and like some still out there you have a conscience, keep it as your second bike for your other place or as a loaner and get something like an Airborne Goblin for $1200, great part spec, think you'd be majorly happy with that bike for a good while.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
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  15. #15
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    If you can return and get credit this is not a bad FS on sale at Performance right now. It would require streching the budget a little @ 1999
    2013 GT Sensor 9R Expert Mountain Bike - 29er Mountain Bikes

    bottom bracket: Shimano Deore, FC-M590-10, 42/32/24T, 3x10
    brakes: Formula RX, w/ 180mm Rotor
    cassette: Shimano CS-HG62-10, 10-Speed, 11-36T
    chain: KMC X10
    crankset: Shimano Deore, FC-M590-10, 42/32/24T, 3x10
    fork: RockShox Recon Gold TK 29 Solo Air, 120mm Travel, 15x100mm Maxle, w/ Lockout & Rebound Adjust, Alloy Steerer
    frame: GT Speed Metal Aluminum Frame, Hydroformed (TT,DT) 120mm Travel Independent Drivetrain Suspension System w/ Forged Linkage, Pivots, Bottom Bracket, Dropouts, and 1 1/8" Zerostack Head Tube, w/ 9R Specific Geometry
    front derailleur: Shimano Deore, FD-M590-10
    grips/tape: GT Wings w/ Waffle Lock-on
    handlebar: Crankbrothers Cobalt 1 Riser, 700mm Width, 15mm Rise, 31.8mm Clamp
    headset: FSA No.16 Integrated, 1-1/8"
    levers: Formula RX
    pedals: None
    rear derailleur: Shimano Deore XT Shadow, RD-M781-SGS
    rear shock: Fox Racing Shox Float CTD SV, 7.5"x2" Air Shock, w/ Rebound Adjust & Lockout
    saddle: WTB Silverado Race SL
    seatpost: Crankbrothers Cobalt 1
    shifters: Shimano SLX, SL-M670, Rapid Fire
    stem: Easton EA50, 1-1/8" Threadless, 8 Rise, 31.8mm Clamp
    tires: Maxxis Aspen, 29"x2.1", 60TPI, Folding Bead
    wheelset: Rims: Alex XD-Lite, w/ Eyelets, 32H, Hubs: All Terra Alloy Sealed Bearing Disc
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  16. #16
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    On your other point, my view is you're better off with one mid-range bike than two entry level bikes. You'll enjoy riding it more and it'll form a better base for future upgrading and/or donating parts to a subsequent bike. Get a cheap car rack and take the bike with you to the coast and back.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by boo radley View Post
    For the first point, I actually agree with you, but P* (where I bought it) and R* do seem to provide this guarantee....It seems amazingly liberal, and I wouldn't abuse it by just asking for all my money back, and walking, but my conscience would be clear if I returned and 'upgraded.'

    We will possibly see in practice how this works.

    For your second point....Maybe. I'm not aiming for my dream bike, and I'm sure that will continue to change as I progress. But it's a chance to rewind and say: OK. Let's start out from a different point, beyond a relatively cheap ( I don't think $550 is insignificant, certainly, but it's a ground floor) 26" bike to something I think I will enjoy even more. This is, in fact, a point probably in favor of an LBS who might have up-sold me originally, or pointed out that the 29" bikes are vastly more popular now, and I should at least try one....

    I think a HT, because I'd rather get a better HT than an entry-level FS.
    I returned/traded a bike at Performance and had no issues, the reason they have that policy, is they dont have to sell you on upgrading and they know a 2 min test ride around the lot isnt enough. Same with REI. I am not trying to promote these guys, but to point out that the policy they have is 100% satisfaction, this doesnt mean there has to be an issue with the bike, just that you, now after some expeience, feel a 29er would be what you really want. They will make money on the upgrade (if you buy there). I wouldnt feel guilty at all, I would return and find the best 29er they have, or have them order one in if they dont have your size or the bike you are interested in.

    Jimbo

  18. #18
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    You mentioned that you liked the 29er better than your current bike. Can ya expand on this thought? What exactly did you like better? Size...handling...?

  19. #19
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    Re: Hmmm....already unhappy with my bike. $1k upgrade path to an HT 29?

    You can get a good fs for $1600
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...9_fs_xtslx.htm

    This is why I don't like buying bikes at unlimited return store. We all pay a premium to do it. I would return that bike and decide between a fs or hardtail.

    If you think you'll be riding a lot of rooty bumpy terrain. Go fs.

    The best value will be a used books c with no warranty. The best new value will be an online brand. A parking lot ride is not worth the premium for an lbs bike, you're going to have to dial it in anyway. There is no substitute for trail time.

  20. #20
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    the bike i purchased at performance was priced exactly the same on Bike Direct, life time adjustments, 100% satisfaction, 30% performance rewards, free fitting. Just sayin.

  21. #21
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    Hmmm....already unhappy with my bike. $1k upgrade path to an HT 29?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbojo View Post
    I returned/traded a bike at Performance and had no issues, the reason they have that policy, is they dont have to sell you on upgrading and they know a 2 min test ride around the lot isnt enough. Same with REI. I am not trying to promote these guys, but to point out that the policy they have is 100% satisfaction, this doesnt mean there has to be an issue with the bike, just that you, now after some expeience, feel a 29er would be what you really want. They will make money on the upgrade (if you buy there). I wouldnt feel guilty at all, I would return and find the best 29er they have, or have them order one in if they dont have your size or the bike you are interested in.

    Jimbo
    I returned a bike to Performance and they were huge pain the butt about it and tried to get out of it. The guy even said he would lose his job if he took it back per their guarantee. I had already given them four chances to fix the mechanical issue and they couldn't but still drug me through the dirt about it.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonathan85 View Post
    You mentioned that you liked the 29er better than your current bike. Can ya expand on this thought? What exactly did you like better? Size...handling...?
    Yes, please elaborate exactly what felt better. It would also help if you told us what you're riding and what the bike you borrowed was. It might not be anything necessarily related to the wheelsize that you liked - and if that's the case buying a 29er might not get you what you think you're looking for.

    It's possible what you rode had a better quality fork or wheelset, which in an entry-level bike would make a drastic difference. Different handlebars, stem, and tires of equal quality all can have an big impact on handling. Maybe the other frame fit you better. Perhaps it was something about that specific bike's geometry or setup that you liked that you might not find in every 29er. There are a lot of variables, of which wheelsize is only one.

    All that said, if you get a clearer picture of what you think you want (whatever the wheelsize), I agree with others who have suggested focusing your investment in one bike. The $500 bike is so you can decide whether you like the sport. The $1500 bike is what you get once you know you do.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by bloodpuddle View Post
    my view is you're better off with one mid-range bike than two entry level bikes. .
    i agree with this +1000

    glad to see you're enjoying the sport.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by boo radley View Post
    I would have started with a different bike had I known a bit more.
    Not the bike shop's fault. IMO, sell it outright and buy what you want. Though I suspect that will change in 6 weeks, too. That is the nature of the sport and why it is a hobby.

    6 weeks is too long to bash around on a bike and then decide you should have bought a different/better one. Especially when you were just fine on the bike till you rode a better one. Can't imagine a place staying in business letting people rent bikes from them this way.

  25. #25
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    I would recommend not changing bikes after only a handful of rides.

    Nearly any $1200 bike is going to feel "different good" over any $600 bike regardless of magic wheel sizes. 90% of a new rider's problems with his bike are solved by riding more. I'd put in a good six months of riding before even considering a bike change. Unless, of course, your current bike doesn't fit.

    My suggestion is to ride your current bike for several more months and, if you like the sport, buy a new one and keep the old one as a back up,
    I live with fear and danger every day. And on the weekends she lets me go mountain biking.

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