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 8 of 8
  1. #1
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    Narrowing down choices.

    Hey guys.

    I was going to build up a Karate Monkey. When I started looking into it I realized I would be better off just buying a complete build. I want a steel hardtail for riding with my 10 year old son who is starting to show a pretty good interest in riding, also want a fun bike for myself as I have been out of mountain biking for a while. I really want a steel hard tail and have narrowed the choices down to the Jamis dragon 650b and Kona Explosif 650b, I really like these two based on geometry but not sure about the 650b thing. The other bike that I like is the Salsa El mariachi. I want a bike I can goof of around the neighborhood as well as I go ride on the trail and the two 650b bikes seem like a good compromise for slow trail riding as well as a few small jumps and bunny hops mixed in. Any reason one of these bikes would be better than the other? I know the Dragon lists for more money, but pretty sure I can get one for about 2k so they all are pretty close on price.

    Thanks
    Matt

  2. #2
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    Have you ridden any of them? Why 650B over 26" or 29"? Not trying to sound overly but are you shooting in the dark here with 2k to spend or are you looking at these for specific reasons? All other factors being equal, though, get the one that fits you best, because if it doesn't fit, you wont like it. And if you don't like it, you won't ride it. I ride a 29, I love my 29, but there are some that hate 29ers. I ride 26 and love 26. Haven't had the opportunity to run a 650B, so it may be orgasmic and I don't know it. But as of right now, I see it as a solution without a problem. As far as what you can goof off with....if it exists you can goof off with it. Unicycle, Motorcycle, BMX, Trek. You can do whatever you want with any bicycle.

    Martyn Ashton - Road Bike Party - YouTube

    Point Proven
    "Faster, Faster until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death." - Hunter S. Thompson

  3. #3
    fly on the wall
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    Hello and welcome, Matt.

    Is there any particular reason you're so interested in a steel bike? Modern aluminum bikes are more than adequate for most applications, and will open up many more choices to you. But any of the bikes you named are more than adequate to ride along with a 10 year old. Are you choosing steel because you want it to hand down the bike to him once he's grown older?

  4. #4
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    I'm just partial to steel. I have actually never ridden a 29er, being 6'2 it would probably be a good fit for me. I may end upbuilding a bike still, just hard to get the price down to that of a prebuilt bike. I thought about the Kona Honzo, but it is a little more bike than I am looking for.

  5. #5
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    Give yourself more bike options by checking out the aluminum to compare. Get out and try different wheel sizes to see what you like. Surly and Salsa make great steel bikes for various uses so you can't go wrong if steel is what you want. I have a steel Salsa Fargo which I love.

    It's more cost effective to buy a complete bike unless you truly want to customize your bike.

  6. #6
    fly on the wall
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    For your height, a 29er would certainly be more proportional to your stature. If you want to keep it simple and avoid day-long discussions about wheel size, stick with it and you'll have no problems.

    A Karate Monkey is a very versatile steel frame. People have built it up as both a standard 29er mountain bike, and a drop-bar cyclocross bike. The nice thing about a 29er is you can run both types of tires on the same set of rims. You'll certainly have the flexibility to tinker with it down the line.

  7. #7
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    More I think about it. I will probably go with a KM if I want to upgrade the frame later I will only be out a couple of hundred bucks if I decide to get something different.

  8. #8
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    Besides aluminum you may want to think about carbon. For 999 Performance is clearing out their Access Stealth LTD 29er in 19 and 21. Complete bikes. There are some good deals right now.
    Access Stealth LTD 29er Mountain Bike - New Items

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