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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    jamis dakar xc vs cannondale scalpel 2 feminine

    Jamis is a 2003 xs and lefty is a 2010 petite. Lefty is 250 more at a grand asking price. Saw the jamis in person...size felt pretty ok for me at five three ish. I know i need to get with my 15.5 marlin...but irritation over bike shop issues keeps me looking on. (They effed up a tube change)

    Any advice is welcome

  2. #2
    T.W.O.
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    Like I said on your other post, if you are doing purely xc then the scalpel would be fine. It's a very nice race bike not exactly a trail bike even at 110mm in the front and 100mm rear travel.


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  3. #3
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    Either of the bikes you're looking at would be fine. The cannondale is of course newer, so things like getting the rear shock rebuilt will be easier. I'm not a fan of the lefty fork, but that's just my own prejudice talking-I don't like the fact that that fork severely limits your options as far as wheels go. I've already weighed in on the Jamis-it was a top of the line bike when it was new. You really need to ride them both and then just start negotiating for the one YOU like best. Not just what a bunch of folks on some internet forum think is best.

    And regarding your 15.5 Marlin. You might find some useful tips regarding setup for someone of your height from this article;

    Pro Bike: Emily Batty's Trek Superfly Elite - BikeRadar

    Particularly because Ms. Batty is your height and her bike is also a Trek '29er in 15.5

  4. #4
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    Your bike is not setup for your riding. It's the wrong bike.
    I wouldn't give up on hard tails because of an experience with a heavy bike aimed at dirt bike paths with a Suntour fork characterized by Bike Radar as "punishing offroad". Sell it or change it. The frame is the same as a X-Caliber. Change the fork to a Reba from bluesky for 350 and lose 1.5 lbs. Put a light stiff wheel on the front,at least, and add a set of light, fast rolling higher volume tires. You'll lose more front end weight and end up with a responsive bike meant for trail riding. It will be lighter than a FS bike.
    If you sell it look at a Scott Scale Elite small 2012, if you can find one 25.5lbs. 2013 is a Scale 960.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Your bike is not setup for your riding. It's the wrong bike.
    I wouldn't give up on hard tails because of an experience with a heavy bike aimed at dirt bike paths with a Suntour fork characterized by Bike Radar as "punishing offroad". Sell it or change it. The frame is the same as a X-Caliber. Change the fork to a Reba from bluesky for 350 and lose 1.5 lbs. Put a light stiff wheel on the front,at least, and add a set of light, fast rolling higher volume tires. You'll lose more front end weight and end up with a responsive bike meant for trail riding. It will be lighter than a FS bike.
    If you sell it look at a Scott Scale Elite small 2012, if you can find one 25.5lbs. 2013 is a Scale 960.
    I agree it is not set up for me. This is what I worry about though. I do all those things and the bike "still" doesn't suit me.. I mean, 350 plus install on the fork, 200 bucks or more on the wheel plus tires and I could easily spend 600-700 dollars or even more. I would still have a hard tail bike.. when I think I would prefer the FS anyway.. and probably in a smaller frame size since that is what I used to ride. For 7-900 dollars, I can get a "whole new bike" (used that is) that is FS, smaller and honestly has for the most part better components than my new bike has now. I might have to spend a little on tuning it up, but I would then have two bikes I could choose from and ride each where it would do best.

    So far, the marlin seems to be a good roller down hills.. that's about it for me..lol

    I would probably keep it anyway though (the marlin).. because my stepdaughter could ride it when she comes to see us.. so it wouldn't be a complete waste. I am just not "up" for spending 2 grand on another "new" bike.. so with my limited shrimp like options (finding smalls and xs is hard to do).. I am trying to figure out if I would just be flushing cash with these options.. and whether they might at least marginally help my situation..

  6. #6
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    CL is going to be there for a good, long time. And these bikes keep cropping up in your searches. Seems like you're in a good area for bikes.

    One of the pitfalls of buying used is that a lot of the time, the seller doesn't know much about the bike. I think it's a real crapshoot for someone who doesn't know bikes reasonably well. It's still a crapshoot for someone who thinks he does...

    I still say hold off on replacing the bike and get sorted out on the Marlin.

    Don't buy big ticket items for it. It's a needlessly expensive way to get to a nice bike. Stick to the contact points - get the grips in the right place for you, figure out how to set up the saddle or replace it if it's just not happening, get some tires you like, get some pedals you like. While I don't really believe in the "upgrade, then switch to the new frame" idea in general, saddles and pedals still haven't had their compatibility "broken," stems are cheap, and that just leaves tires. Which are only an issue if you switch wheel size. Which you might want to if you want to do FS. Tires have a huge effect on the ride, though, so if that's just a loss you take, c'est la vie. At least your step daughter will have better traction when she visits.

    If you damage something expensive, it's a Trek and they have a pretty insane return policy. So give that a bit of research too. Or, maybe you can leverage their return policy, get all your money back out of the bike, and either move up to a Trek that ships with a reasonable build or to a different bike entirely.

    It's kind of shocking how much of a difference getting the right tires and the right pressure make in the ride. I think it's bigger than having a suspension fork. I actually had to borrow a rigid to do an event a while ago. I swapped on "my" tires and inflated to "my" pressure, and actually it wasn't anywhere near as different as I expected. I still prefer to have suspension, but it's become something I want for smoothness when I'm going pretty fast. I don't believe it adds much to the ride at lower speeds.

    When you've been riding again for a bit, your position and settled down some, and you've figured out how much reach you want on a bike frame, give some thought to your "real" budget and then get the new bike.

    A lot of people make a mistake on their first bike. Maybe even most? I like to think that my internet addiction and I help some people get on the right bike in the first place, but usually I think people need the sport itself and their own experience to sell them on spending more, or on giving up on a new bike in order to get more for the same money. I think if everyone could start on a long-term borrow from a friend or something like that, they'd do a lot better. For a lot of people, their first mountain bike has to stand in for this. At least mountain bikes can be good utility bikes for the people that stick with the sport but need a do-over on their gear. Anyway, as I see it, your situation right now is that you've got a bike in hand and you want to start riding more again but you're currently still riding very little and trying to re-figure out how to sit a bike and what you're looking for. I don't think your chances of getting "the" bike are that much better now than they were before. So you could just end up with two bikes you don't like.

    This site is full of gear-mongers. I certainly have my gear-monger moments myself too. But I had a lot of fun riding my cheap Schwinn Mesa in college. I've enjoyed riding twenty-year-old road bikes. I still enjoy riding my current road bike, even though the size has always been just a little off for me. I enjoy my bike commutes, including when they're on really old bikes. I think that people who are going to enjoy riding enjoy it on whatever bike they've got, and if it's not "your" sport anymore, it won't matter what you're riding. It's certainly a distraction that your shop sucks. (What shop is it, anyway? Multiple branches make me suspicious... for me, an LBS implies a small-scale owner-operator business, with no more than maybe a couple that are geographically pretty close to each other.) But I really don't think that changing bike is going to get you from not liking mountain biking or not being able to do anything with a mountain bike to liking mountain biking and being good at it.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
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    Getting a light, responsive and inexpensive FS bike aimed at the XC terrain you ride will be a challenge. They cost more and weigh more than hard tails.
    Taking small incremental steps toward that goal is often disheartening and adds up to a substantial cash outlay over time. One well thought out step may keep you in the sport and save money.
    The fork upgrade as well as a good wheel can go on any future ride.
    If you can ID a good FS bike you can compare used bikes aggainst that one.

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