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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    Noob advice: Spec Rockhopper v Kona Cindercone v Giant XTC2 v Norco Bushpilot

    Yet another noob looking for advice on a bike. I've read the reviews on the site, searched the forum and visited both bike shops in town. I guess I'm just looking for that last bit of advice before making my purchase.

    I'm a former road biker from out east who recently moved to Revelstoke, BC and had decided to take up mountain biking. This will be my first mountain bike and I'm looking for one that I can take out onto the local trails (McPherson, Keystone). I don't plan on any crazy downhills or doing any drops. My options are:

    Specialized Rockhopper Comp disc - $850
    Giant XTC2 - $930
    09 Kona Cindercone - $900
    Norco Bushpilot - $600

    The first three bikes are all similar price ranges and all have the same suspension. The Cindercone has hydraulic brakes, which I've been told are better and require less maintenance. Meanwhile, the Bushpilot is $300 cheaper and has good reviews and I'm thinking I can always upgrade some of the cheaper parts as they wear out.

    I imagine I could get better prices online, but both stores offer a year of free service, which is highly tempting.

    Thank you for your help.

  2. #2
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    I'd rule out the Giant and the Norco because of those crappy disc brakes. (Although the Norco is cheap enough that you could buy new brakes.)

    Which leaves the Specialized and the Kona. The best one is the one that fits you best.


    [I accidentally looked at the specs for the 2010 Kona Cinder Cone before my first post.]

  3. #3
    2010 RockHopper Comp Disc
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    As for brake maintenance, the Avid BB5/7 really require no work once set up correctly (For the BB5 this is really hard). Hydros on the other hand can need maintenance from time to time, but it is possible for them to rarely need it.

    I have the 2010 Rockhopper comp disc. I love the frame, hate most of the components. Ive never had to get so many tuneups and adjustments on a bike before in my life. It may be the bike, it may be the mechanic, I cant tell. But my Last GT bought in 1998 lasted nearly 12 years, never needing nothing more than a chain greasing. Never even needed a tuneup. The rockhopper has had multiple broken spokes, broken chains, bent saddle rails, now a botched Bottom Bracket and the BB5 brakes constantly needed adjusting. One of the water bottle holder screws was not threaded and I get chain suck all the time.

    All in all, the frame is great, the components suck. I wish there was a Kona dealer in my Area, I would have loved to try the CinderCone. I dont know if its any better, but my experiences with the rockhopper havent been all to great. Even my brothers Trek 4300 literally has no problems, though its from another LBS, one that doesnt sell specialized.

  4. #4
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    I do not have a 2010 Rockhopper comp disc but a 2008 Rockhopper Disc (which I think now Specialized calls a Rockhopper Comp disc. I may be wrong). I have had very few issue with mine except for the BB5 which constantly needed adjusting and the Dart3 which constantly leaked oil from the rebound adjust.

    So I swapped out the BB5 for BB7, fairly inexpensive upgrade, and they are far better. Once I got them adjusted they have been great. I did swap out the Dart 3 and put on a Tora Race. Although I did not save much weight in the swap but the Tora is a great deal better than the Dart 3.

    All in all it has been a very good bike to get me into the sport and to learn how to ride. As BeaverTail said the frame is great. I'm hope to upgrade to a full suspension bike within the next month if I can just make up my mind on what to get.

  5. #5
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    I love my '09 Kona Cinder Cone so far. I've had it for a couple months now and am still getting used to mountain biking (I'm a newb), but as far as I can tell it is performing as it should. It is a little heavy, but I like the components MUCH better than those on the Rockhopper. I think the Rockhopper is lighter though - don't quote me on that.

    Like another poster said, I have not had to adjust much on my bike and it seems to be really strong and durable. I got a screaming deal on mine too!

  6. #6
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    Interesting on the GT, I have a friend who has had a GT for about 12 years as well and never had it in for an adjustment.


    I have the Kona blast, so a couple steps down, but I believe the same frame, good bike, really like it, the frame flex is something you will notice different than on other bikes but I prefer it to other hard tails as it makes for a bit cushier of ride, Been trouble free since November with one tune up and fairly aggressive riding.
    Last edited by Blurr; 04-27-2010 at 03:40 PM.

  7. #7
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    12 year old GT Avalanche is much different than the new ones, the old one came with mostly lx with an XT rear mech, and bomber fork.

  8. #8
    2010 RockHopper Comp Disc
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homebrew7
    12 year old GT Avalanche is much different than the new ones, the old one came with mostly lx with an XT rear mech, and bomber fork.
    It was a GT outpost Trail, But what do you mean much different. I just assumed like most things, they dont make them as good as they used to.

  9. #9
    2010 RockHopper Comp Disc
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    After a ride this afternoon id also like to say that I am a bigger guy, at about 330lbs. So I very well may wear out parts much faster than somebody half my weight. I am also rather aggressive at that weight. once I get a tune up the bike is great, especially with the BB7's.

    Even though ive had a few complications, I still love the bike and think its the best $800 ive ever spent.

    Go with comfort above anything else. I was practically forced into the specilized due to my back problem. The shorter top tube is better for me.

    Try as many bikes as you can and choose the more comfortable one. The GF models are great for the price, but are very uncomfortable for many.

  10. #10
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    I have a 07 Rockhopper comp disc and one thing that I noticed is that since 08 component level has dropped a level. (Mine came with a Tora fork as an example). If it was my choice I'd pick the Kona because it seems to be equivalent to my Rockhopper (which lasted me until last year when I upgraded everything but the frame ) Since it's an 09, you should try to see if you can get the dealer to lower that price a little.

  11. #11
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    Forgot to mention, that I too found the BB5 to suck incredibly. No sure why but I had to tighten them every few ride.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the comments. I found out today they only have the 2010 Kona Cinder Cone in my size and they want over $1,000 for it, which is more than I'd like to spend, and at that price, I can spend another $200 and get a 2008 Kona Dawgma.

    If I can get them to come down on the Cindercone I'll probably get it. Otherwise I need to decided between the XTC2 and the Rockhopper

  13. #13
    Awww CRAP!
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    I've been riding a 2009 Rockhopper comp disc, and think it's an awesome bike, the frame is superior to most others and definitley worth keeping and upgrading. I don't know why everyone is griping about the BB5's. I took the time to set them up correctly and they will stop the bike dead with very little effort and super quick engagement.. They are the same as the BB7's mechanically. The 7's just allow adjustment on the other pad with the knob and run different pads. Both pads on the 5's can be adjusted if you take the time. The Dart 3 fork while not the highest dollar or lightest fork on the market is quite capable of beginner to intermediate riding and at 6-2.5" and 235 lbs I've had no issues with it. The wheels are a bit soft for a rider over 220lbs. But overall the bike is awesome.
    2010 Stumpjumper FSR Expert

  14. #14
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    This bike is sick and blows away the components on the models you're looking at for $999. I see you're only like 100 miles from the border and they say they can ship to a UPS store close to the border and you can pick it up. The fork on this bike along is $320 online, and the Dart3 on the bikes you posted is a $100 entry-level throwaway. If the process is simply driving across the border and stopping by a UPS store, I'd definitely go for the Fantom Elite.

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...om_elite09.htm

  15. #15
    2010 RockHopper Comp Disc
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    Quote Originally Posted by FacePlantinNewB
    I've been riding a 2009 Rockhopper comp disc, and think it's an awesome bike, the frame is superior to most others and definitley worth keeping and upgrading. I don't know why everyone is griping about the BB5's. I took the time to set them up correctly and they will stop the bike dead with very little effort and super quick engagement.. They are the same as the BB7's mechanically. The 7's just allow adjustment on the other pad with the knob and run different pads. Both pads on the 5's can be adjusted if you take the time. The Dart 3 fork while not the highest dollar or lightest fork on the market is quite capable of beginner to intermediate riding and at 6-2.5" and 235 lbs I've had no issues with it. The wheels are a bit soft for a rider over 220lbs. But overall the bike is awesome.
    The BB5's are decent and it depends on the rider. Im a bigger rider and had my BB5's set up correctly. They could stop me on a dime as well. Though for them to work properly and stop me on a dime, they would need to be adjusted before every ride. If I didn't adjust them they would wither into an unusable state. A state where they would no longer stop me on a dime. The reason for this is due to their construction. I have taken both the BB5 and BB7's apart and the BB7's are built with quality and reliability in mind. BB%'s are light and flexible, BB7's are heaving and sturdy. Once you get the BB7's set up properly (which are drastically easier than the BB5's), they are set and forget. They hold and rarely wither into an unusable state. Ive been using the BB7's for months and dont even have to think about them. Though for the first 4 months with my BB5's they needed to be adjusted before every ride. Again this depends on the rider. I demand perfection or as close to it as possible. Most people will be completely satisfied with the BB5's and not notice the change. But if you are a heavier rider like myself, even a small change completely changes the way the brakes work. Though if you are a normal weight, the change may not even happen or may happen but still be acceptable and perform correctly.

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