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.
Results 1 to 22 of 22
  1. #1
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    Re-entry rider: New bike or stay with old?

    First POST! 53 year old male, looking to get back into riding. I crossed over into Dirt bikes about 10 years ago and want to return to mtn biking.
    I am not in great shape (but not bad for my age). Used to really like XC riding.
    Current Ride: 2000 Specialized S-works full suspension that I purchased used just as I was starting to ride less, about 10 years ago. Bike is in decent shape, (although has a dent in downtube which is why I got it cheap) and has a new Manitou R Seven Fork. Still a good ride, but I like new toys and considering a new bike.

    Will I really notice a difference? Of course the bike shops say the new technology is amazing, blah, blah blah. But I want to hear from real riders. I will likely ride about once a week (if I am lucky) except in winter.

    Considering a 29 full suspension, (Rocky Mountain Element?) or similar if I can find a good deal. Top I want to spend is $2000 and would be happy with less money spent. Even considered a 29 hard tail?

    I want to ride for exercise and fun, and my kids actually like riding so the family thing is another factor.

    Look forward to some advice.

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    It took until this year for me to like a FS bike. The 2000 S-Works is basically an FSR, right? Can you post a pic? The R7's a kickass fork, though. At least, if you're not too heavy.

    Since you have a bike already, dust it off, air up the tires, and go ride.

    The majors devote a lot of money to getting you to want their bikes. So, let them do the work. Go to some demo days.

    I have a 29er. I think they're pretty cool. As a category, I think they ride smoother. Some riders find that the bigger wheels are more work to flick around, and, to now, there hasn't been a lot of support for that wheel size in long-travel bikes. So it really depends on what kind of riding you like, and also what your trails are like. Actually, I was reflecting on this a little when I was riding today - I feel like with my new FS 29er, as compared to my 26" hardtail, I concentrate more on line selection and just roll over a lot more of the little stuff, while with the previous bike, the threshold of how big something had to be for me to need to plan a move to get over or past it was a lot lower. I'm not sure if I think the new bike is faster on really technical trails, where I'm picking my way from obstacle to obstacle anyway, or when I have to negotiate tight uphill switchbacks. (Though it's enough more fun everywhere else that I'm not too worried about it in general.) There are always exceptions, but XC riders who buy often enough are mostly on 29ers lately, at least that I've noticed.

    A 29er hardtail is still a hardtail. They ride smoother than a 26" hardtail, but not like a FS.

    Anyway, demo, demo, demo. Your shops may be able to hook you up, and if S-Works and an R7 (at least retail) are reflective of your budget, you may get some traction from the brand reps who cover your area too.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
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    Yes, she is a high end FSR. I am only 160 pounds so the fork works well. 26 pounds is not too bad for a 13 year old bike! But it has about 3 inches rear travel max in the rear.
    I got this bike on ebay in 2003 for $800! (It has a thumb print size dent in the down tube.) My budget is about $2000 max.

    Not sure if this link works: 2000 Specialized S-Works FSR XC - New and Used Bike Value

    I plan to ride my son's 29 inch Raleigh Talus Elite tomorrow. Hard tail, but should give some idea on the 29 concept. Demos are a little hard because I live in a small town, but doable with some effort and a little driving.

  4. #4
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    LOL, at less than 160 lb, I enjoyed the stiffness improvement going to the Marzocchi that's on that bike now. But I also rode the R7 into the ground - by the time I had it thrown out, there was play in it and QBP's rebuild guys told me they could charge me $20 to send it back or throw it out for free.

    Bicycle Blue Book is an asinine site. But I was just looking for the picture anyway. I think you stand to feel an improvement in a more recent suspension design. And it does raise a point - you can certainly get some money back out of your FSR. Probably more like $600, but I dunno - see what similar bikes went for on EBay and add $100 or so.

    $2000's not a lot in a retail FS. But plenty if you do closeout or used or something. There are also some higher-end catalogs that you might consider. Titus and On-One spring to mind. I don't have saddle time on either, however.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  5. #5
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    You'll find a lot of solid choices in your price range if you go with used.
    I'd lean toward FS, specially if you've been moto-ing.

  6. #6
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    Looking at a Giant Trance X3 and a RM element 950 tomorrow. Any thoughts on those to choices for XC?

  7. #7
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    The Trance is an XC bike. When I demoed one, I thought it didn't work very well. But it may not have been set up well. I don't know the Element.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
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    If the bike fits you like a glove, I'd keep it and ride it until I was very sure about what I wanted. I got back into mountain biking after over a decade, and my old 26" just didn't feel that great fit wise. Age does take its toll..... So i felt it was time to change and a new 29" hard tail was what I got, and it fits great, and I am very happy with it.

    Really - if it fits and feels good - ride it till you really feel the need to spend the money. Unless that is disposable income that you won't miss at all - then by all means get the new toys!!

  9. #9
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    Buy/ride what you feel most comfortable on...don't get too hung up on brand/price unless it's over your budget. Fit first.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by moki2001 View Post
    First POST! 53 year old male, looking to get back into riding. I crossed over into Dirt bikes about 10 years ago and want to return to mtn biking.
    I am not in great shape (but not bad for my age). Used to really like XC riding.
    Current Ride: 2000 Specialized S-works full suspension... Still a good ride, but I like new toys and considering a new bike.

    Will I really notice a difference? Of course the bike shops say the new technology is amazing, blah, blah blah. But I want to hear from real riders..
    Well it depends. Rear Suspensions are better these days are there are some other marignal gains, but the bike is still a bike and unless you really want to ride crazy terrain you never could back in the day... The old bike still works fine. I ride KHS hardtail I built in 2003 and it does just fine on the trails I ride. The bike not a limitation in what I want to ride and how I do it. I have done a few XC races on it and I finish right where I expect I would given my fitness and skills.

    Now if you really want a new bike. Then so be it. Go get one.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  11. #11
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    Take the bike you have, get it tuned up, and have the suspension serviced. Once you get used to riding again, reassess your needs; find an on-dirt demo and take a bike or two for a ride. Compare how the new stuff feels compared to your current bike. Your bike has a dent which is means it won't last forever but it's probably good enough to get you rolling for a while as you get back into biking.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  12. #12
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    In threads of this nature, often times you'll find that folks tell you to get what they have. Makes sense in some ways because if they like their bike, they feel you will too.

    These days, 26" wheels have fallen from grace for general trail riding on bikes in the OP's budget range, so the questions are more likely between 27.5 and 29" wheels, FS or hardtail, and then some figuring out what type of handling traits you'd like to emphasize.

    Since you've been off the bike for a while, it might be a good idea to ride your current bike for a little bit while you do some serious shopping and demo riding. If you're in a part of the country where you'll be off the bike for winter, that sux for demo rides because they aren't likely to have many until Spring.

    Mountain bikes have evolved a fair bit since your 2000 bike came out. for crying out loud, Rock Shox made a SID dual crown "DH" model that had (IIRC) 100mm travel back around that time

    I have both a pretty good FS bike (2011 Giant Anthem X29) and a decent hardtail (Trek Stache 8 frame and fork that I filled out with my own parts pick). I like to think I don't necessarily have a dog in the fight, although being 6'5", I have found 29" wheels to my liking. For me, I find myself reaching for the hardtail 29er for most of my riding these days. It has a 120mm fork (20mm more than the FS bike), and I seem to be able to push it harder than the FS bike in spite of it having no rear suspension. But that's me. I'm only me, and I like what I like. You may very well be different.

    Ride as many as possible, especially if you can ride them on your home turf. Ride all different types, and keep an open mind. Eventually, you'll find yourself drawn to certain types of bike, wheel sizes, travel, head angles, chainstay lengths, etc. and then you'll find one that has that certain something and that you love to ride.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    The Trance is an XC bike. When I demoed one, I thought it didn't work very well. But it may not have been set up well. I don't know the Element.
    Actually the Trance is firmly on the AM side of a "trail" bike. The Anthem is Giant's XC bike (Which in my opinion is a pretty good "trail" bike since that is what I use mine for, since I never will zip-tie a number on it.) Isn't fun that there are about a dozen categories defining a bike that is fun to ride in the dirt.

  14. #14
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Whoops. I have a hard time keeping their bikes straight. Thanks for the catch.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  15. #15
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    I am 50 and just got back into mountain biking this year.
    I had a Marin FS that l bought new in 1999. I had overhauled it some years ago with the frame powder coated etc, and it was in mint condition.

    However, for me a new bike has been the reason l needed to get out riding. It is a strange thing, but since buying my new Kona FS earlier this year l have been out at every opportunity.

    There was nothing wrong with the Marin, sure the Kona has more travel and the brakes are better, plus it has a wider range of gears. But the Marin was still good.

    I had to sell it to help pay for the new one, but if you still love your old bike you could keep it as a spare.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for the great replies. I have almost pulled the trigger a few times: I am a sucker for new toys, but the wisdom of waiting and and riding my bike while testing is sound. My bike is tuned, sag is set, new pedals ordered and riding will continue.

    One issue I face is my bike 25.5 pounds, no bs. Going to some 30 pound bike would be hard to swallow. Looks like I am a xc guy. Scott bikes (owned one in the 90's) might be a good choice.

  17. #17
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    Earlier this year l bought a Cube hardtail and then replaced it with a Kona FS.

    The Kona weighs about 30lb and the Cube weighed about 26lb.

    I really cannot say that l noticed much difference when riding the Kona, apart from the fact that it is better at going downhill!

  18. #18
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    The overall weight of a bike only matters if you riding all day or racing ,lite wheels make up for weight elsewhere.

  19. #19
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    Jeff's makes a great bit of sense here...

    As to weight issues, well, I didn't have much to burn, and I'm sure my Kona Kahuna isn't exactly a lightweight, but I do like it over my old 26 in. The fit alone is worth it! Fit is so important to enjoying your ride.

  20. #20
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    Hmmm, as a relatively small guy (155 lbs) I have always valued light weight, but I hear you on the issue of light wheels. How does that translate into the world of the 29? Seems like their wheels are much heavier than than a 26?

    Rode my son's 29 hard tail yesterday and it really didn't work for me, although the fork and brakes were great. I am sure in time it would feel better, but not a direction I plan to take.

  21. #21
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    Yeah 29's are heavier, but I don't race, and frankly, I have found that what I ride I am "used to"', and never really think about it much. I guess if I tried a high end lightweight bike then go back to mine, I would notice. Then again, I need a beefier setup anyway since I tip the scales between 215 and 220.

    I went and got a set of Easton a Havens, then stuck UST Crossmarks on em, not the lightest tire, but true ust, so I saved on the tube, but that tire is pretty heavy!

    I come back to fit and how it feels.... You'll love the bike that fits you like a glove and enjoy it till your face hurts.

  22. #22
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    Competitive XC riders have been switching to 29ers in droves, at least in my region. I think the weight penalty is about a pound if one actually makes an "other things equal" comparison. But they can be much smoother. For a racer, that means more time spent developing power and a greater proportion actually going to moving the bike forward.

    Try a few 29ers before you toss out the class. The first couple I tried were AM bikes and I didn't like them. I think I just don't like AM bikes. Once I tried a 29er hardtail, I was sold on the larger wheels. And once I rode a short-travel FS 29er, I started setting aside some of my paycheck.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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