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  1. #1
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    Need some advice (price range, brands, 27.5 or 29) for used mid-level XC

    I'm a bit out of touch with the latest changes that have been happening in the MTB industry. All I know is that 26" wheels are no longer around and it's either 27.5" or 29" depending on how you ride I guess. I haven't ridden that much in a long time and looking to get back into it (mainly as cross training). I do tend to ride very conservatively when going downhills and really don't care for technically terrain. If I had my choice, I'd ride up a long fireroad for a good workout. Can someone point me in the right direction in terms of what brands and whether I should be looking at 27.5 or 29 (I'm short at 5'6")? I'm trying to stay under $1,500 by buying used. Also, been looking at craigslist but expanding my searches on eBay. Are there any other sites I should be looking at?

    Thanks!!!

  2. #2
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    Used can give you more bang for your buck, so that may help. In addition to other sites, try Pinkbike for used bikes.

    A hardtail (as opposed to full suspension: front and rear) may serve you well for what you describe, and also be a bit easier on the budget.

    One "newer" thing in MTB right now are Plus bikes (bigger tires), which can be a nice addition to a hardtail in particular in terms of smoothing things out.

    At your height, you can find both 650b and 29er frames to suit you, although some people poo-poo 29ers at your height. It's really all about bike fit.

  3. #3
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    Thanks. Which (27.5 or 29) would be better if I wanted to be able to have the option to have an alternative set of rims/wheels to use for narrower wheels (higher pressure tires) for things like commuting.

    Also, is carbon frame going to be more expensive than aluminum? Any groupsets (forks) to avoid?

    Thanks!

  4. #4
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    I like 29ers and don't buy into the (lack of) rider height concern with them. Top tube length seems to me to be the primary concern for fit and 29ers won't affect that.

    I also don't believe most riders will notice much (read any) difference in steering ability from a 27.5", which supposedly has "much more" agile handling.

    So i don't see the supposed biggest disadvantages of a 29er as that real or at least that significant. Granted I'm not significantly experienced in both, but i am an engineer and have difficulty seeing the physics and geometry being significantly different enough to matter much.

    So go 29er for the advantages it is known to have.

    At $1500 you can get a rather nice hardtail, new or used. You have a huge number of options available.

    I'd recommend the plus bikes mentioned above. If going 29+ the Trek Stache 5 is hard to beat for quality and price. The most fun on two wheels!

    There will be no shortage of opinions. Google bicycle groupsets wiki for a list of relative quality ranking to greatly help you sort out quality between the makes/models.

    Since you'll have your pick of many great options at your price point get what you like most! Any reasonable option will provide a good, quality bike; so be sure to get what you'll enjoy and thus most likely to ride frequently.
    Last edited by gr7070; 1 Week Ago at 12:00 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by OCBion View Post
    Thanks. Which (27.5 or 29) would be better if I wanted to be able to have the option to have an alternative set of rims/wheels to use for narrower wheels (higher pressure tires) for things like commuting.

    Also, is carbon frame going to be more expensive than aluminum? Any groupsets (forks) to avoid?

    Thanks!
    I would think you'd have plenty of options in either wheel size. Though, I'm far from an expert. How far is your commute? I commute, as well, but have a dedicate commuter. You will go through mountain bike tires on pavement more quickly.

    Yes carbon will be more expensive. I'd also guess carbon bikes will have pricier components than what you might normally target for a $1500 bike, as well, so it's not just carbon that becomes an issue for your budget. Sunroofs usually come with leather interiors, power everything, and a bunch of other costly items. Thus you're likely to be priced out of carbon at $1500, at least new.

    Personally I'd ignore carbon for many reasons. Weight savings is expensive, among other reasons. And for your desired outcome (conditioning) weight is a benefit.
    ; )

    At $1500 most every bike should have an air fork. I'd ensure that's the case with your ultimate decision.

  6. #6
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    I would have to agree on what most are saying.


    If your riding style leans more towards long fireroads maybe look into a CX bike or a Gravel grinder. They normally have a 700cx35 tire.

    The Stache is a awesome do it all bike. They 3" tires are fun on the mountain. you can run 29er+, 27.5+ and 29er tires on the bike.

    I'd vote for the Stache 5 if you were to get a bike.
    Too Many .

  7. #7
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    I feel compelled to add that for your described riding you could go with a less expensive bike than your max budget and still have a good bike that's appropriate for you and will last a long time.

    Could likely go half even if desired; less if you're unsure how much use it'll get.

    Though if you're a current commuter you're more likely to stick with this and could possibly benefit from slightly more durable components if this is thought to be a truly long term use bike.

    If you're a serious commuter and haven't already experienced the joy of the must-have fenders and panniers I'd *highly* recommend adding that to your commuter bike or give some serious consideration to fenders and panniers and how to best purchase a bike to fit all your needs.

    Additionally, in my experience my commuter is not good on hard-packed, crushed granite. I ride a Trek Fx with 700x32(?) tires. I'd want significantly different tires were i to spend any amount of real time offroad. You could make fire roads and commuting work on one bike, but it'd take some targeted consideration to do it right.
    Last edited by gr7070; 1 Week Ago at 12:40 PM.

  8. #8
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    $1500.00 budget I would go for this in heart beat.

    https://www.santacruzbicycles.com/en-US/chameleon

    Edit: Or This:

    TIMBERJACK 27.5+ GX1 | Bikes | Salsa Cycles
    2016 SC Heckler R build
    2012 CX Kona Jake
    Nashbar 29er (Rigid)

    Giggity!

  9. #9
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    Yah i would certainly have the Trek Stache and Santa Cruz Chameleon high on my list if i were you..... right around your $1500 budget!
    Current Rides:
    Trek Stache

  10. #10
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    thanks for the recommendations all. I think I might have to consider buying new after taking a look at a couple of those bike mentioned.

    In terms of commuting, I don't really commute now but I asked the question because if I wanted to open up that option in the future I didn't want to be limited by my choice of bike. So it sounds like I can go either way with a 27.5 or 29 in terms of narrower tire options (I probably won't use panniers or fenders, etc).

    Lastly, I'm probably not going to be able to test ride a 29 and 27.5 to be able to tell the differences between the two. Are the differences very noticeable to someone that isn't advanced? I really only care about it if it limits my ability to ride comfortably and safely for long periods. Don't really care about getting that extra speed going downhill or overcoming obstacles quickly (at least for now).

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Highwaystreets View Post
    Yah i would certainly have the Trek Stache and Santa Cruz Chameleon high on my list if i were you..... right around your $1500 budget!
    ...and maybe a Specialized Fuse.
    Do the math.

  12. #12
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    27.5 vs. 29er comes down to personal preference the end off the day. One's riding conditions usually are given significant consideration, too.

  13. #13
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    Quick question on the new Santa Cruz Chameleon (maybe I should post a seperate thread) - is the higher end model ($1999) substantially better than the lower end version ($1500)?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by OCBion View Post
    Quick question on the new Santa Cruz Chameleon (maybe I should post a seperate thread) - is the higher end model ($1999) substantially better than the lower end version ($1500)?
    In my humble opinion, since you are starting light the base model should be good enough, as you progress you can see what components matter to you and might need/like down the road. I bought the Heckler which is considered entry level FS but for me its just perfect. As always hopefully you can test ride it and see how you like it.
    2016 SC Heckler R build
    2012 CX Kona Jake
    Nashbar 29er (Rigid)

    Giggity!

  15. #15
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    If you get a 27.5 wheeled bike ,you could get a set of 29 inch wheels ,and put some road tires on them ,they would be around the same diameter. You would need another set of rotors and a cassette to make a quick swap.

  16. #16
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    Thanks, I think I might have to consider that. Also, I have a question regarding determining if the bike is the right size you. Since I have a road cycling background, do any of the guidelines used in fitting for a road bike apply to a mtn bike? For example, front hub/handlebar line of sight in relationship to stem and top tube length.

  17. #17
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    Those guidelines aren't that good on the road either. 😉 What size road bike do you usually ride?

    Do you currently have road bikes? Why not commute one of those?

    At 5'8", I wouldn't consider anything but a 29er for a XC hardtail. The difference isn't that big, but in a world of choice, I choose wheels that I feel ride a little smoother. One of my former teammates who's a little smaller than me found he just couldn't get used to 29ers, though. The question about using narrow, high-pressure tires also points to a 27.5" or 26" wheel.

    Sent from my E5803 using Tapatalk
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  18. #18
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    I usually ride a 50cm frame. I don't have a road bike anymore though otherwise I would probably use it. Anyway, thanks for the suggestions. Gives me something else to think about.

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