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 here..also made a trip to the LBS.

    Hey all,
    Greetings from East TN!

    The gf and I just got back from visiting our LBS. Neither of us had been on a bike for probably 15+ years. Recently we've decided to give trail riding a try and finally made the trip to the shop to look for some entry-level rides.

    After a test-ride or two, she picked out a Trek Cali 29er. Bought and paid for! I just gotta go pick it up since we were in the car at the time and there was no room to bring it home.

    As for me, I tried out a Trek Wahoo and a Trek 3700. Both felt great to me and I'm having trouble deciding which I'd like to bring home. There's an obvious price difference with the Wahoo being a bit more expensive.

    I'll probably be riding 70-80% dirt trails (relatively well-groomed) and the remainder of the time cruising the neighborhood for a weekday workout.

    I know both (well, all three..but the Cali is already purchased) are entry level bikes.

    Are there any caveats with either the 3700 or Wahoo I should be aware of such as future upgrade-ability or..?

    The 3700, being a 26" wheel, felt more maneuverable at low speeds. The Wahoo just felt smoother in general. Makes it a tough decision based on my test ride.

    Anyhow, glad to be here! I look forward to reading and learning from you all!

  2. #2
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    Test ride them again and maybe some other bikes as well, you should like something better for whatever reason.

  3. #3
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    For me, the 29's just ride better on the trails. I'm not familiar with the bikes you mention, will the dealer let you take them to the trail?

  4. #4
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    Hi--

    I am fairly new to this too but am somewhat familiar with the Trek line.

    First of all, good choice on the Cali for ypur GF, expecially if she is petite. I have a wife and another friend that are 5', and it was the only 29" we could find to fit them. My friend actually got the second-from-smallest size.

    As for the 29 or 26 choice, by all means, as Dave suggests, try to test-ride them both on the trails you anticipate riding on if possibe. Also, see what other trails are available in your area that you might want to ride later. Visit these trails on a weekend and see what other people are riding and talk to them. Walk the trails and see what you will be up against.

    Here in NE Georgia where I ride, 80% of the bikes you see are 29" hardtails. Generally the trails are not rough enough to need full suspension, but there are a lot of roots, and the 29" is great for that. I love my 29".

    That said, I have never ridden a GOOD 26". My last bike was an old 1998 26" Schwinn about comprabable to the 3700 , but steel frame and the geometry probably isn't as good. My 29" with the G2 geometry corners better at any speed.

    As for upgradeability, the Wahoo has the Gold-series frame, the same as the $1600 XCaliber. The 3700 has a Silver-series frame, which is heaver and maybe not as stiff. However, if you get into it and want a better bike, it would probably be cheaper just to buy one than upgrade.

    I am not very knowledgeable about the components. Hopefully someone else will advise further. It appears that the 3700 has a better fork (see link below). The brakes and drivetrain look to me to be in the same ballpark.

    It looks to me that the bikes are of generally the same quality, and that the choice between the two gets down to what wheel size you want.


    3700 Disc - Trek Bicycle

    Wahoo - Trek Bicycle

    Confused about low end Suntour suspension forks

  5. #5
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    A Wahoo or Cali with a suntour X series fork is setup for bike paths and mild trails. The fork is the limiting factor. It lacks adjustable rebound damping so it will pogo at speed over multiple bumps. The internal metal bushings are not engineered for the heavier demands of bumps, speed and flexy stantions. Nick at Suntour offers an upgrade to a Raidon for 175 or Epicon for 250. Both these air forks will give you a bike for all trail levels. Save your receipt and upgrade if you need to. An REI Novara Ponderosa is often on sale at 20 off making it 800 with a Raidon fork oem.
    This bike is similar to a Wahoo and would still cost less after the upgrade.
    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Gravity 29Point1 29er Mountain Bikes
    The geo is very good on this bike this year.

  6. #6
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    Great replies. Thanks all! The dealer was all too happy to let me ride around on the streets near the shop and in their parking lot. However, no trails close enough to evaluate in that regard.

    The closest I got was getting to ride the speed bumps in the parking lot, lol. That, at least, was noticeably smoother/easier on the Wahoo. The typical trails we have in the area are fairly wide but covered in tree roots and ruts.

    I was initially sold on the Wahoo except for one minor gripe. The standover height on the 17.5" frame (which otherwise fit) was really at my limit for comfort. Standing flat-footed over the bike had the top bar slightly in contact with stuff I'd rather not have busted on the trail. It seems a lot of 29ers have around a 30-31" standover height, so maybe that's just part of it. Perhaps it's just part of me being a bit short for a guy at 5'9".

  7. #7
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    Flat footed standover happens on the floor and flat parking lot of the LBS but not on trails. You get on and off your bike by standing on a pedal. That will give you 3-4" clearance. You lean the bike to stop on trail with your foot on the higher ground side of the trail. The cockpit fit and balance point for up and downhill riding is important.

  8. #8
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    The importance of standover height is overrated. When you crash you almost always fall over sideways. The top-tube length -- the distance from the seat to the steering is the most important thing to look at for good fit.

    I'm pretty close to 5' 11" and ride a 17.5" Superfly AL Elite. That's the size that Trek put me on at a factory demo. Most people say that it is better to err on the size of a smaller frame, but not everyone agrees. The dealer tried to put me on a 19". I tried it and it just felt a tad unwieldy. The Schwinn I rode before I got my Trek was a 17". However, a lot of people my size ride 19" and a lot shorter than me ride 17.5"

    Why not try a 15.5"? The LBS probably has another model in 15.5" that you can try, and can order a 15.5" Wahoo if it fits better.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Flat footed standover happens on the floor and flat parking lot of the LBS but not on trails. You get on and off your bike by standing on a pedal. That will give you 3-4" clearance. You lean the bike to stop on trail with your foot on the higher ground side of the trail. The cockpit fit and balance point for up and downhill riding is important.
    If that's the case then the 17.5" Wahoo was a great fit. Good info, thanks!

  10. #10
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    It's official. Well, semi-official. I purchased a bike today! Had to order it from the LBS but I ended up with a Trek Mamba on a 17.5" frame (in black/gray)

    Trek Mamba

    A couple of steps (in price/quality) from the Wahoo I was looking at, but I figured it should give a few years of good service so I went for it.

    Looking forward to picking it up and hitting the trails (after I refresh myself a bit on how to ride..better.)

  11. #11
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    Congratulations -- I think you'll be glad you went with the upgrade. Like they say, buy once, cry once

  12. #12
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    Here's a vid for the wait-
    Fluidride: Like A Pro (COMPLETO) - YouTube
    One for low heels pedal technique-
    Straight Lines with Fabien Barel - YouTube

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Here's a vid for the wait-
    Fluidride: Like A Pro (COMPLETO) - YouTube
    One for low heels pedal technique-
    Straight Lines with Fabien Barel - YouTube
    Awesome. Good way to pass the time. Of course, that somehow lead me to mountain biking 'injury' videos since Youtube kept showing them as related videos. I really shouldn't have watched those just before I start riding again. I just got over a fractured scaphoid in my right hand from wrenching on a car.

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