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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    New question here. Latest Investment, Need Advice

    So I was interested in purchasing a new mountain bike. I have about $2k to blow, but like the title says I want it to be an "investment," not a mistake. I've been hearing loads on the pros and cons of Hardtails VS. Full Suspension, and really need some clarification on what suits me best. Maybe you guys could give me a better understanding.

    I used to live in South Florida. I mostly rode on bike trails (Markham Park, CB Smith, John U. Lloyd, etc.) as well as on paved roads in and around the neighborhood. I currently moved to the Ocala-Gainesville area and noted there are loads more hills and rougher terrain out here than down south. I like to ride rough terrain but am not much into doing tricks and jumps (except for the ones where the trails demand). I also like to ride leisurely on the road and fast when I feel the need. I wanted to get a really good versatile bike that is comfortable to ride, quick, yet agile on uphill...something that will last me a while too. Right now I own a Magna that the parents bought as my 16th birthday present. 7 years later, I'm still sporting the fragile old Toys R Us bike on trails, but I think it won't last me much longer.

    I've heard about the back pain and aches after a long days ride on the trail on a Hardtail; I've heard that you bob too much when peddling fast on a Full Suspension; I've heard the Full Suspensions can be fixed to feel like a Hardtail, and some say it's still not the same; I've heard that the Full Suspensions are way to heavy when you're on the trails pumping up hill; I've heard the Hardtails are much lighter and quick...plus a bit more economical.

    It seems like a never-ending tug-o-war between the Hardtail fans and the FS fans. 2 months of researching different brands, models, and sizes, and I can't quite figure it out. I love cycling...I don't want this purchase to change my mind.

    Now you guys know where I ride, what my "style" is...got any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    I used a hardtail for about a 9 months till I bought my Stumpjumper fsr. I love the full suspension. As far as weight goes, my stumpy is significantly lighter than my hardtail, and it is a bigger bike. Im sure you would see that too going from a toys-r-us bike to a nice quality full susp. bike, you'd definitely notice that the burly looking, full susp. bike feels a lot lighter.

    Most forks and shocks have lockout feautures these days, and the rear fox traid on my bike, as well as many other rear shocks, have pedal features that stiffen up the suspension to limit rider induced bobbing while still being able to absorb impact, as well as the fully open feature for full impacts. I usually lock my fork going uphill and ill flip the lever on the rear shock to pro-pedal, it works very well. On the way down, I flip the fork and rear shock over to the fully open position.

    You sound like you'd like to get a full suspension by the way you describe where you live now. Personally I'd suggest the FS bike over the hardtail

  3. #3
    I post too much.
    Reputation: snaky69's Avatar
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    You could get the best of both worlds and get a steel hardtail. Vibration dampening and the riding characteristics of the ride of steel, and the versatility and lower weight of a hardtail.

  4. #4
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    FS isn't mainly to just soak up vibrations, it sticks to the ground and allows you to go over rocky stuff without losing control.

  5. #5
    Still a child inside...
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    well,

    the best way is to own both.
    I'm actually abandoned FS and gone with a hardtail.
    I enjoy that i have no bobbing, and don't have to think what's
    goin on in the back...
    Clever people say, you have to learn on a hardtail for a few years,
    and then go FS.

    But the best advice i can give: take out both types for a test ride...

  6. #6
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    I've got several friends that I've gotten into MTB and all have truly fallen in love with the sport once they've gotten a FS. I would say that almost all of the negatives that you've listed about FS were true 5-10 years ago....however today those negatives have been overcome by newer technologies (lockouts, "Pro Pedal" features, newer materials, better engineering, etc.) and have been pretty much negated.

    My suggestion would be to get a nice used higher end FS bike with 4" or less of travel (Titus Racer X, Turner Flux, Ventana, Blur, etc.) or if you really want new (or can't find a nice used bike) I would look at the Giant Trance. Many of my friends went for high end used bikes and where VERY happy.

    Also, I agree with another poster who mentioned ride both and then decide.....one caveat to that, ride both OFF RODE and then decide. Enjoy!

  7. #7
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    I'll second the Giant Trance. When I lived in Hawaii I did a little MTB on a Specialized hardtail. I never did get very much into it. When I moved to Barbados I decided it was time to give it another try. I bought a Trance 4 (the lowest model) and I will never go back to hardtail. You will see it when you bike with any group, probably 90% FS and the other 10% seem to want one. I'm from Alachua and I know the terrain up there, you won't feel too much bob because it's not like you are doing huge climbs.

  8. #8
    Wizard of the Trail
    Reputation: Geist262's Avatar
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    for someone to have 2k to burn on a bike, I doubt this should be in the newbs corner. Check out "which bike to buy."
    There is no charge for awesomeness......or attractiveness.

    Good rep does not wash out the bad, nor the bad the good.

  9. #9
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    My suggestion is that

    you not be worried about back pain at 23 years old.

    43 maybe, 23 no.

  10. #10
    i also unicycle
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    i'd be looking really hard at the specialized stumpjumper fsr that can be had for about $2200. it's one helluva bike. plus with pro-pedal platforms and such FS rides really really well.
    mtbr says you should know: i work in a bike shop.
    bikes & beers (on my blog) http://idontrideenough.blogspot.com/

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by disraeli
    you not be worried about back pain at 23 years old.

    43 maybe, 23 no.
    Unless you broke yours when you were 22 like me. Then you can worry about it and feel is everyday. But I still ride so I am pretty sure you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

  12. #12
    MTB'er in Training
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    Dude...being six months back into riding after a long time off...I only wish I would have had $2,000 to blow on my first bike back...

    Don't get me wrong...I love my 06' Gary Fisher Marlin (hardtail)...but I would really love to own and be able to ride a higher end FS ride...

    I told myself I would only go so far on my first bike purchase back...and I am happy with my decision...but I also have already told myself...come a year...year and a half from now...If I am still as addicted to riding as I am now (which I believe will be the case)...I am going FS and dropping a few $$$ to do so!
    "Havin' a good time, here today...Watching the sun shine, matinee...Never the wrong time, time we stay...Living the moontime, time we play"

  13. #13
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    Is the Trance considered a higher end bike?I thought the Turners and the Santa Cruiz bikes where the higher end bikes with a 3000.00 dollar price tag.

  14. #14
    local trails rider
    Reputation: perttime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by disraeli
    you not be worried about back pain at 23 years old.

    43 maybe, 23 no.
    I'm 43 and enjoy the way my stiff HT bike beats me up on the rough ground... Go figure.

  15. #15
    watch out I'll bail
    Reputation: airwaybill's Avatar
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    First, Welcome to the area!!!! Lots of great trails and people to ride with.

    I would also agree with the go out and try both idea. Santos bike shop in Belleview can rent you either and let you try it out. You can ride right onto the trails from the shop, too.

    I myself am partial to HT. But I do want a FS for some of the drops out there. Plus the days I don't feel like being "FAST" on my HT it would be nice to have the rear suspension to save some fatigue when I'm just cruising. I think having both would be ultimate but with only $2000 available, that's not possible.

    Seek first to understand, before being understood. -Me

    http://www.omba.org/

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucky53s
    Unless you broke yours when you were 22 like me. Then you can worry about it and feel is everyday. But I still ride so I am pretty sure you have absolutely nothing to worry about.
    You broke your back last year? Ouch! My apologies for making a bad assumption.

    $2k will buy a LOT of back friendly bike on eBay.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Litespeed-Unicoi...QQcmdZViewItem

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