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  1. #1
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    need advice on new bike

    i am looking for the best money can buy for around or under $650. i have been looking at specialized hardrock sport discs, they seem to be great quality and ive read a lot of good reports about them. is there a comparable bike by giant, cannondale, haro, trek etc in the same price range that would be better for the money? should i go with a 29er or not? i will ride this bike around school everyday and also ride moderate trails a few times a week.

  2. #2
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    Expand your search a bit

    Your $650.00 will buy you a lot provided you shop smart. First, look at your local Craigslist. You'd be surprised how many good finds there are on CL. Many people buy a bike with the best of intent, ride it a few times, then it sits in the garage for a year or two untouched. Secondly, check your local bike shop for closeouts. I just bought a brand new $2600 full suspension rig for $1100 because it was a 2009 model year bike.

    Do your homework on components , specifically drivetrain components and the fork. These are typically lower end on bikes in the $500 - $1000 range, so you want to focus in on bikes that come with above average components. Stay focused on buying a hardtail, as in this range almost anything that is full-suspension will be suspect.

    Bottom line, take a few demo rides to get a feel for what size frame makes sense for you, research components, and keep an eye on Craigslist and your LBS for bargains. Your patience and research will be rewarded, as you should be able to land a nice hardtail in this price range.

    Here is a great example of what I'm saying. I had a Leader 515 hardtail with a Rock Shox Reba SL fork, Shimano LX crankset, Avid BB7 brakes and Speed Dial 7 levers, SRAM X7 shifters and rear derailleur, and a hand built wheelset (XT hubs, Rhinolyte rims). Rode it for a year, and sold it on CL for $700.00, Bike was in immaculate condition, and a great buy!

    A bit longwinded in my reply, but I hope this helps.

    Bob

    P.S. As for 26" or 29", that's just a matter of personal taste. You'll need to decide that one yourslef, but in general, you're probably more likely to see more 26" options in your price range,
    'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjackh View Post
    i am looking for the best money can buy for around or under $650. i have been looking at specialized hardrock sport discs, they seem to be great quality and ive read a lot of good reports about them. is there a comparable bike by giant, cannondale, haro, trek etc in the same price range that would be better for the money? should i go with a 29er or not? i will ride this bike around school everyday and also ride moderate trails a few times a week.
    Practically every brand out there will have a model at your price point. Here, for example, is a Giant Talon 29er 2 with a list price of $650:

    Talon 29er 2 (2012) - Bikes | Giant Bicycles | United States

    Search for "the best" is a never-ending quest. Instead, get out there and test ride some bikes. Find something that's good quality that you like. Buy that. Don't worry about "best".

    I'm afraid to comment on the 29er question for fear of derailing the thread. But you did ask. Be sure to at least try one. See whether you like the wheel size. 29ers are the trend right now. Giant, for example, doesn't seem to have a 26er hardtail at your price point. IMHO, try both sizes. Even if all you can get are parking-lot rides, try them and see which you prefer. Then buy what you feel will be the most fun to ride.

  4. #4
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    ^^This^^

    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
    Practically every brand out there will have a model at your price point. Here, for example, is a Giant Talon 29er 2 with a list price of $650:

    Talon 29er 2 (2012) - Bikes | Giant Bicycles | United States

    Search for "the best" is a never-ending quest. Instead, get out there and test ride some bikes. Find something that's good quality that you like. Buy that. Don't worry about "best".

    I'm afraid to comment on the 29er question for fear of derailing the thread. But you did ask. Be sure to at least try one. See whether you like the wheel size. 29ers are the trend right now. Giant, for example, doesn't seem to have a 26er hardtail at your price point. IMHO, try both sizes. Even if all you can get are parking-lot rides, try them and see which you prefer. Then buy what you feel will be the most fun to ride.
    I agree. The most important aspect of a bike and what makes it "best" for you is the fit. And that's something we can't help you with. Test ride as many different bikes as you can in your price range and pick the one that feels best for you.
    JPark - 3.5- don't listen to dremer

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
    I'm afraid to comment on the 29er question for fear of derailing the thread. But you did ask. Be sure to at least try one. See whether you like the wheel size. 29ers are the trend right now. Giant, for example, doesn't seem to have a 26er hardtail at your price point. IMHO, try both sizes. Even if all you can get are parking-lot rides, try them and see which you prefer. Then buy what you feel will be the most fun to ride.
    I'm a newbie, so the 26 vs 29 is a question that I've been wanting to know more about. Based on your response it seams that this is a "controversial" topic on mtbr. Can you tell me some of the pros/cons of both?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by down2ride View Post
    I'm a newbie, so the 26 vs 29 is a question that I've been wanting to know more about. Based on your response it seams that this is a "controversial" topic on mtbr. Can you tell me some of the pros/cons of both?
    It might be better to go to the 29er forum and search. The subject gets discussed endlessly. It's like the "which chain lube?" question. For any opinion that anyone throws out, someone will come along with a counter-opinion. Very few facts are involved. Threads are never-ending.

    I like 29er wheels because they roll over things better, I feel more confident on descents and less likely to go over the bars, they get good traction, and they seem to work better for me when covering long distances over, say, smooth double-track.

    I like 26er wheels because it's easier to get them lighter, I can accelerate faster, frame geometry is less compromised--especially when going to six inches of travel, the bike doesn't feel so outsized, and because it confounds my die-hard 29er friend that I still ride them.

    I like 650b wheels (yet another size) because I feel they are truly a better match for my body size than either 29er or 26er wheels. My only 650b bike is a single-speed rigid though, and I wish I had a geared full-suspension model, but c'est la vie.

    Honestly, were I buying just one bike, and if that bike were a hardtail, I'd get a 29er -- no question. I'm lucky enough to have a few bikes. This summer I've been riding a 29er full-suspension bike and a 26er hardtail. At least, those are the two I've been riding most often.

    For awhile after I bought my first 29er, I thought I'd never go back. But my mindset changed, and you can see from the above that I am all over the map these days with wheel sizes, and I'm enjoying every minute of it.

  7. #7
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    Jonathan, thanks for a well thought out response. I guess I'm going to have to ride a 29er and see how it fits me.

  8. #8
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    i found a 2011 trek 4300 disc on CL for $600. how do yall think that compares for a HR sport disk? i guess i just need to go to the bike shop and ride both then decide. not sure if saving ~$100 is worth getting the used bike.

    also, do yall know if the HR sport disc comes in that flat "punk" black anymore? ive seen some pics online of it in that color but ive never seen one in person.

  9. #9
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    I just got an 11 Giant Revel 0 for $524. I found that it beats out a lot of entry bikes in that range for components. Avid BB5 Mechanical(Perform great-need to be adjusted a lot tho.) & Rock Shox Dart 2 front fork(Still under fire for being an actual good fork, but mosdef better than the suntours.)

  10. #10
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    Sun & Ski has the Marin Hawk Hill on sale now for 599. I just bought one and waiting for it to be delivered. My old bike was also a HH and I love it.
    GL

  11. #11
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    i bought a gt karakam 1.0 29er last week and i love it, although it was 875 out the door little over ur price range but its a sick bike

  12. #12
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    I just got my Kona Mahuna (today) for $699 + pedals & tax. My wife's Ranier 1 (WSD contemporary to the Talon 1, I believe) was $650 + tax. We both looked at a Trek/Fisher Marlin last week that was marked at $620. You've got many options! +1 to leftovers.

  13. #13
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    i went to the LBS today to look at some HR sport disks. they didn't have any in stock right now. i rode one of the base model hard rocks and liked it ok. i hopped on a rockhopper and absolutely loved it. only problem is its like $250 more than i had planned on spending. is the rockhopper worth the extra money over the HR sport disc?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjackh View Post
    i went to the LBS today to look at some HR sport disks. they didn't have any in stock right now. i rode one of the base model hard rocks and liked it ok. i hopped on a rockhopper and absolutely loved it. only problem is its like $250 more than i had planned on spending. is the rockhopper worth the extra money over the HR sport disc?
    If you are only choosing within the Specialized models then might as well ask the Specialized section about HR and RH. There is a similar thread about the two asking if the price difference is justifiable and most answers are YES. Mainly due to the lighter frame on RH.

  15. #15
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    I purchased a cheap mongoose deception 29er from walmart. I knew it was cheap, but I didn't know if mountain bikes were for me. I rode it for 6 months, tried several 26er's. I sold the mongoose and lost about $50. Well worth the price of admission to mountain bikes. All the local bike shop prices were much higher than Bikes Direct. I know many riders will bash Bikes Direct, but if you read the reviews on them, you will be impressed. Their prices are far lower than local bike shops. I purchased a motobecane from them and saved $800 to $900 over local bike shops with comparable equipment. Look very carefully at the components, they really make a difference in ride quality.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by down2ride View Post
    I'm a newbie, so the 26 vs 29 is a question that I've been wanting to know more about. Based on your response it seams that this is a "controversial" topic on mtbr. Can you tell me some of the pros/cons of both?
    What's your backround? That seems to play into the choice somewhat.

    I came from BMXing so the 29er just felt like a giant slug on single track.

    I'm also one of those people considering a 650B, I'd have done it already if my frame fit a rear 650B wheel.

    Better roll over than 26, not as sluggish as a 29er- a nice compromise between both.
    OG Ripley v2
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjackh View Post
    i went to the LBS today to look at some HR sport disks. they didn't have any in stock right now. i rode one of the base model hard rocks and liked it ok. i hopped on a rockhopper and absolutely loved it. only problem is its like $250 more than i had planned on spending. is the rockhopper worth the extra money over the HR sport disc?
    In short yes.
    OG Ripley v2
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  18. #18
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    Well, I'm new to mountain bikes. I started in February. I read a lot about 26er's and 29er's. I rented various 26er's, but could not rent a 29, so I bought the cheap mongoose 29. I liked the 29 right away. for me it goes over the large rocks better than the 26. When I got ready to buy a better bike, I was torn between the hard tail and the dual suspension. There are many 26 DS, but few 29 DS. I knew I wanted the 29. I found a 29DS at bikes direct after riding a friend's Gary Fisher Deluxe 29. I compared the two bikes for components and price, The Fisher was much more money and I didn't feel the fisher was worth the difference in price. After riding both, I know I was right for my type of riding. I ride what I call a moderate trail with many washes that range in depth from 3' to 20', with uphill climbs and moderate down hills. I'm 70 years old, not very fast and ride about 10 miles on this trail three times a week.

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