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.
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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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    Needing Advice: DiamondBack Recoil 29er or Axis SPT 27.5

    Hello,

    I'm looking for some advice on my first purchase for a half decent mountain bike. I have a good deal on either a recoil 29er (360) or an axis SPR 27.5(350). Both are large frame (I'm barely under 6ft tall). The last bike I bought was the equivelant to a Wally World special and I knocked my knee so hard into the gear selector that I gave up on it after one ride. I could barely walk after that mishap. I later figured out that it was a small frame and I should never have attempted to ride it...

    This will be my first real attempt with mountain biking and both bikes are brand new. The recoil 29er is a full suspension setup while the Axis is a hard tail. Both have manual disc brakes.

    I am more inclined toward the 27.5 because of the hardtail design. Less moving parts to wear out and, to be honest, this is a hobby that I may or may not continue depending on how well it goes. With 27.5s catching steam it would probably be easier to sell if this doesn't work out.

    However, I am open to any available feedback.Also, if anyone has a better suggestion for the 150-350 price range, I am all ears.

    Here is some general information. I am about 6' and 240lbs. I'm 26 y/o with no major injuries to speak of. There are beginner (mostly flat) to Intermediate technical tracks in my area, as well as a few 30-35 mile tracks through mixed pavement/offroad areas.

    Thank you for your time.

  2. #2
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    Bikes with that level of Suntour 'X' series fork will limit you to dirt roads and bike paths.
    And they just have a spring not really matched to your weight. An air fork bike will work.
    So neither is what you are looking for. you need a 19" or L.
    Outside your budget on ebay is the Marin Bobcat 29. Look for bikes like that.

  3. #3
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    Not going to lie, that's a rough break. The next step up that I get a discount on is the Axis comp 27.5, but looking at the fors it seems to be a spring design as well. RockShoxXC 30s. Gotta love being a fatty...

    I had really hoped to keep this investment under $400. It looks like I'll end up having to go to the LBS and putting something nice on layaway which will push back the hobby a month.

  4. #4
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    There is a Trek 930 for sale, no suspension, but I feel like that is getting basicly the same result as the DiamondBack. It is half the price of the DiamondBack though.

    Would it be viable to purchase the DiamondBack or Trek to get into riding the longer smooth trails and then upgrade the forks after deciding that I am going to stick with it? Biting a $700-900 bullet for a hobby I haven't even attempted yet just seems like too much of an investment.

  5. #5
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    A mid-90s rigid bike for that budget is the best way in, IMO. You don't really need a suspension fork, and where some of the cheap forks have problems with poor tracking and harsh rebounds that make it harder to keep the bike under control, rigid forks are exactly that.

    Putting a suspension fork on a bike that didn't ship with one isn't always a good idea, and sometimes it isn't even possible. It can mess with the geometry of the older bikes and there can be a compatibility problem with the frame/fork interface. So if you want to have suspension eventually, you're best off starting with a bike that comes to you with the right amount of travel and a threadless headset.

    I have my opinions about buying a bike and then throwing parts at it after purchase...
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    What is your opinion on fixed bikes now? My LBS carries some Masi bikes that may fall in my original price range and size requirement just in case the trek isn't a 19"/L frame.

    I wouldn't want to "upgrade" the trek, I was thinking more on the DiamondBack, but I understand what you are saying about buying something and planning to throw money at it. If I'm going to do that I should have just saved and bought something better. I just really want to get out there and see if this hobby will work out and tend to blow extra money if it sits for too long.

    If I decide to buy something better, my LBS carries Cannondale and Specialized and have a lawaway program :P

  7. #7
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    Re: Needing Advice: DiamondBack Recoil 29er or Axis SPT 27.5

    Fixed like a fixed gear?

    Then my opinion is you need to decide what aspect of the sport you want to try first. That's very different from mountain biking.

    I get some of my miles on the road. Not as much lately, I'm lucky enough to live right on top of some really great trails. When I had to drive to ride my mountain bike, I did a lot more road riding. And when I lived in Manhattan, I rode the road almost exclusively.

    It's impossible to predict the future. But you can look at what kind of riding is available in your area and make your best guess.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
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    Wow, haha. Note to self, Masi does not include great info on their site for someone who has no idea what they are looking at... My noob is showing

    I saw the rigid forks on the fixed series bikes and the price, completely overlooked the fixed gear part. Honestly, besides the industrial park trail, all of the trails in my area are flat or slight incline/decline with lots of technical turns, so a fixed bike might work well, but I'm not sure a beginner should get one after reading more about them.

    There are two LBS in my area so Monday I will go take a look at the one I am less familiar with. Hopefully one of the employees has a garaged toy that they wouldn't mind passing along.

    I find one thing very discouraging about the other entry level bikes though. Most of the other brands all have some form of spring suspension for the fork. Masi does have some rigid ones and that bobcat seems to have an air shock, but what would be the recommended weight limit on the spring shocks?

    For instance, the cannondale trail 29 6 uses the Suntour XCT-100-29.

  9. #9
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    Let's start from the beginning. A mountain bike can be pretty simple, but their basic defining characteristic is that they're made for fat tires. 1.9" or bigger. Fat tires are for riding on dirt. Since they're more than twice the width of what's on most road bikes, including fixies, most road bikes can't accept them, and are unsuitable for mountain biking.

    Now, what are you trying to do? Are the trails you want to ride singletrack? Like, 18" wide or less? Or are we talking about graded and hardened trails?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
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    My main goal is to work my way up to running the pig trail with coworkers once a week. It is 9 miles and 80% singletrack.the main person riding this trail with me tides a trek hard tail 26er with no upgrades. He said it was 400 6 years ago.

  11. #11
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    This bike has an air fork and decent Shimano Alivio/Deore drive components. I don't have any connection with this listing, but I have recommended it a lot because it is trail ready with a good fork.
    2013 Marin Bobcat Trail 29er 19" MTB Hardtail Bike Shimano 9S Hydraulic Disc New | eBay
    I don't see a 19" in auction format. They may list one soon at a lower price.
    You can use this as something to compare against or look over other ebay listings for something similar but cheaper.

  12. #12
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    I might be in the minority here but in my opinion those Diamondbacks aren't terrible bikes. I started out on a 2-year-old Diamondback Overdrive that had been sitting in the store's overflow area and forgotten about. So I got a great deal on it. I used it on some pretty tough Arizona singletrack and caught the mountain-biking bug. It's been three-plus years since I got that bike, and I've moved up to a full-suspension bike that cost a lot more than that Diamondback. However I still have the Overdrive and still ride it at least twice a week. So if those bikes are what you can afford and they get you into the sport and into better shape, there's nothing wrong with them.

    As for which one to buy, I'd go with the hardtail. My uncle had a Recoil with 26-inch wheels, and it was so heavy. If you end up liking the sport then you can worry about buying a fancier bike.

  13. #13
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    I have a diamonback sortie and love it but I wouldn't want a $350 full suspension bike from anybody unless it was a decent used bike. You should be able to get a heavier spring for the fork which will help but they still won't work great. Most of us started off on crappy forks and lived. As a newb you won't be doing anything crazy for awhile and when you do start getting to where it is a problem you can upgrade either to a much nicer bike or at least a better fork.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by canker View Post
    I have a diamonback sortie and love it but I wouldn't want a $350 full suspension bike from anybody unless it was a decent used bike. You should be able to get a heavier spring for the fork which will help but they still won't work great. Most of us started off on crappy forks and lived. As a newb you won't be doing anything crazy for awhile and when you do start getting to where it is a problem you can upgrade either to a much nicer bike or at least a better fork.
    I have been riding on a $hitty fork that came with my Trek X-Caliber 4 for a month now. Initially, as a beginner rider, I thought that it wasn't too bad of a fork when I wasn't going too fast. However, as confidence grew and my fitness level is back up, I could already tell the limitations of a fork at this level. At any kind of higher speed descents over just a little rough surface, I feel like I am going to rocket launch into the sky at any time.

  15. #15
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    I feel like I may be be beating a dead horse till I get to the lbs tomorrow but the owner suggested I look at the talus 29er. However, these still have a suntour "x" series fork. The talus prices are easier to swallow, but there isn't much point if the fork wont support my weight.

    Here is more info on the intended trail:
    Pig Trail, Macon, Georgia


    The main reason I haven't looking into the Bobcat as much is that I haven't found a vendor local so that I can try one out. If I'm going to end up spending double or even triple what I would have spent orginally, I want to make sure the bike fits.

    After figuring out that the great deal on the diamondback Axis doesn't include the $65 shipping fee to our store (which they charge even if we have on in stock through this promotion), it looks like even the DB would have landed me at the $450 mark with a helmet and camelpak. Makes me cringe to think that that much of an investment could be destroyed because the shocks aren't up to the task and I go rebounding off of log...
    Last edited by Kirden; 4 Weeks Ago at 02:08 AM.

  16. #16
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    Ok, I have decided to move my price range up a bit, but I kinda feel like I'm passing up a decent deal on the diamondbacks in my new price range. For $580 I can get either the overdrive Comp 29er (rockshox XC30 forks, SRAM S800 10-speed, hydraulic disc brakes, double walled wheelset) or the Axis Comp 27.5 (Same options but 27.5 wheels). These are both $1200 bikes but my company is a licensed vendor so I get a 60% discount.

    That also means if I decide to hit my wallet really hard (two thirds of a full two week paycheck), I can get either the $1600 Overdrive Pro or Axis Pro for $880 (including tax and shipping). These have FOX Fluid Forks, SRAM S1000 10-speed, hydraulic disc brakes, and double walled wheel sets.


    I really hate being impatient...

    Edit: and I just answered my own question. While the DiamondBack Comp/Pro have better forks and neat options, their double walled wheels aren't any better than the big box wheel sets. The SRAM x5 derailleurs are horrible on the Comp (front and back) and the x7 and x9 aren't much better on the Pro. Life expectancy is somewhere around 40-60 miles or less if you hit rough trails. The brakes work decent, but have to be adjusted regularly. It was suggested to adjust them after every two hours of riding.

    I found all of this by researching each part individually. There isn't much feedback on these bikes and now I understand why. I did however find a very nice Raliegh Mojave 2.0 that I plan to look at tomorrow. Hopefully we can work out a deal.
    Last edited by Kirden; 4 Weeks Ago at 05:17 PM.

  17. #17
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    Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

    SRAM X5 Derailleurs or Shimano Alivio and above aren't bad, they're actually pretty solid from what I heard of. I own an Overdrive Comp and love it. To death. Here are some bikes that I recommend.

    • Airborne Guardian 2.0 - $599

    Airborne Bicycles. Guardian 2.0

    • Overdrive Comp - $849

    Diamondback Overdrive Comp 29er Mountain Bike - 2014 Performance Exclusive - 29er Mountain Bikes

    • And as previously said the Marin Bobcat if you can.

    2013 Marin Bobcat Trail 29er 19" MTB Hardtail Bike Shimano 9S Hydraulic Disc New | eBay

    All the bikes I listed can be financed and payed monthly except for the Marin, and with the huge discount you're getting with the DB Comp I say it's very much worth getting that bike c: Plus with leftover money you can buy a solid air-fork eventually. RockShox XC30/28 forks are pretty nice entry level forks, you can always adjust the preload according to your weight. Good luck!

  18. #18
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    And if you're worried about bike fit if it's not available at a LBS, trying getting body measurements and look at the geometry of the bike. If you give Airborne a call, they can help you get the right bike size.
    Bark.

  19. #19
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    You're doing a good level of research. Take it one step further and solve the fit problem. Find a bike available locally with geo close to the Marin. Some fit changes can be adjusted with cockpit components. A setback seatpost, a different size stem and wider bars with rise and different sweep are some options. And you naturally adjust on your own to an extent after a few miles. Fit at the beginner level is not black and white critical.

    Fun looking trail. First priority after fit is a good fork.

  20. #20
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    Re: Needing Advice: DiamondBack Recoil 29er or Axis SPT 27.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirden View Post
    Ok, I have decided to move my price range up a bit, but I kinda feel like I'm passing up a decent deal on the diamondbacks in my new price range. For $580 I can get either the overdrive Comp 29er (rockshox XC30 forks, SRAM S800 10-speed, hydraulic disc brakes, double walled wheelset) or the Axis Comp 27.5 (Same options but 27.5 wheels). These are both $1200 bikes but my company is a licensed vendor so I get a 60% discount.

    That also means if I decide to hit my wallet really hard (two thirds of a full two week paycheck), I can get either the $1600 Overdrive Pro or Axis Pro for $880 (including tax and shipping). These have FOX Fluid Forks, SRAM S1000 10-speed, hydraulic disc brakes, and double walled wheel sets.


    I really hate being impatient...

    Edit: and I just answered my own question. While the DiamondBack Comp/Pro have better forks and neat options, their double walled wheels aren't any better than the big box wheel sets. The SRAM x5 derailleurs are horrible on the Comp (front and back) and the x7 and x9 aren't much better on the Pro. Life expectancy is somewhere around 40-60 miles or less if you hit rough trails. The brakes work decent, but have to be adjusted regularly. It was suggested to adjust them after every two hours of riding.

    I found all of this by researching each part individually. There isn't much feedback on these bikes and now I understand why. I did however find a very nice Raliegh Mojave 2.0 that I plan to look at tomorrow. Hopefully we can work out a deal.
    The Internet has crappy reviews of everything if you look for them.

    I don't know the specific wheels on the Diamondback Comp and Pro models, but double wall is a much better design - potentially both lighter and stronger than single wall. Nothing's free, which is why double walled rims are more expensive.

    I'm actually not a huge SRAM fan, but I don't dislike their stuff enough to turn my nose up at a good bike. My new bike has X7 shifters and front derailleur, an X9 rear derailleur, and an X5 crank. Much as I hate to admit it, everything's been working great. I have a little over 100 hours/800 miles on that bike.

    I don't know what brakes the Overdrive and Axis Pro have, but if they're hydraulics, adjusting every two hours sounds like an exaggeration to me, even if they're off-brand.

    I also doubt anything on a Raleigh Mojave is going to be any better.

    When you read these reviews, you need to consider the source. Bicycles are a little finicky and vehicles taken off-road tend to need a lot more maintenance than those that never leave pavement. Whether it's bicycles, cars, motor vehicles, doesn't matter. There's a reason civilizations build roads.

    Wheels take a little maintenance. Drivetrains tend to need a fair amount of adjustment for the first ride or two. Chains have a limited life expectancy and cassettes and chain rings have a longer one, but wear out too. Hydraulic brakes need to be bled from time to time. Suspension forks and shocks need to be overhauled from time to time. If you don't do this stuff, even the nice parts will perform pretty badly.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  21. #21
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    Well, I just threw most of this out the window and picked up a used bike at the LBS. It is a large frame and the fit feels perfect from my test day with it. It's an older Trek 3700 and I sorta fell in love with it after the test ride. It has a serfas e-gel saddle, and the shimano drivetrain shifts extremely smooth with the trigger shifters.

    It had some crappy grips and bar ends so I traded those for a set of ergonomic grips. The only part I'm not 100% happy about is it isn't a disc brake bike, but it was cheap and should easily handle the beginner stuff I'll be throwing at it. I also picked up some gloves and a new helmet. I'll mostly ride around the yard for now, but next week I'll grab everything for my pack and hit the silver trail (rail to trail). It feels odd riding such a tall bike (29er) but the ride is comfortable and doesn't feel strained.

    It has RST 191 forks, 19.5" frame, shimano Acera and FD-C051 derailleurs, Shimano EF50 levers, and upgraded metal pedals.

    After speaking with both of the LBS owners and seeing the options available I know what my next bike will be and I'm pretty confident about it. I want the Haro FL 27.5 expert. I rode a Haro 27.5 trail and it felt perfect. If I am still riding in four months I will start saving for it.

    Needing Advice: DiamondBack Recoil 29er or Axis SPT 27.5-img_20140623_144559_zps14adce21.jpg

  22. #22
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    Pretty sure the 3700 has only ever been offered with 26" wheels.

    Anyway, the first bike is the hardest. Now you can take your time and go to some demo days.

    If you like the fit on this bike, make sure to look at reach or top tube measurements when you look at your next. The 3700 runs a bit short, so its size isn't directly comparable with anything else.

    Enjoy it!
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  23. #23
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    Well this is awkward... LOL!

    It is indeed a 26, but riding it seems to place me so much higher than the Haro 27.5 so I guess that's why I imagined it was larger.

    I still have to get used to mounting the bike. I'm really unsteady until I start rolling. Watched a few videos on proper shifting and granny gearing for climbs. Lots of info to remember.

  24. #24
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    You should mount the bike from straddling the bottom bar, not jumping straight to the seat. You just need some riding time you'll figure it out. If you're new to cycling in general there are a few basic rules.. Don't shift while under load, and don't mix the small gear in the front and small in the back, and big in the back and big in the front.. Just stay in the middle ring until you get used to shifting. I have been with friends who broke chains a mile or 2 into the woods and didn't have the tools to fix it and had to walk out and it ruined their ride.

    Sent from my 831C using Tapatalk

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    Thanks for the advice, that helps a ton for mounting.

    Actually, thank you all for the advice. This has been quite a learning experience and I feel that I've just scratched the surface. I just need to remember that people can be harsh on reviews, and the intended bikes (and the one I purchased) are all entry level so they would probably last if riden on entry level trails.

    Happy trails everyone and I hope to be back soon with a few adventures.

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