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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    Scott Aspect Sport vs Cannondale Trail SL2?

    Hey everyone,

    I'm a beginner looking to get back into mountain biking. When I was a kid I owned a decent MTB, but without suspension. I've been looking into getting a hardtail bike and I was hoping for some advice on choosing between two bikes:

    2012 Scott Aspect Sport 29er
    versus
    2011 Cannondale Trail SL 29er 2

    I think the Cannondale has slightly nicer components, though they are very similar between both bikes. The Cannondale has Shimano Deore shifters, Scott has Alivio shifters, they have the same derailleurs front and rear, similar gearing (I think--hard to tell for a newbie), maybe technically the same Shimano hydraulic brakes (again, hard to tell...BR-M446 versus BR-M445?)...

    One of the biggest differences is in the suspension. The Scott has a Suntour XCR, 100mm travel; the Cannondale has a RST Deuce 29 Air, 80mm travel. I've looked around online but I can't really tell which one is technically and practically better. I've mostly gotten that both are fairly basic and lots of people seem to prefer upgrading anyway.

    So, I can get both for a very similar price and that's in the top-end of my budget, but the BIGGEST difference is that I have to drive about 100 miles round trip to get the Cannondale, whereas I can pick up the Scott locally. It seems like the Cannondale is the better bike, but I'm not sure if it is a 100 mile drive better. If these are technically identical bikes, especially for someone inexperienced, it seems like it might not be worth the drive for the Cannondale.

    I have test-ridden the Scott, it seemed to feel pretty good but again, I'm a novice and I can't really tell the difference between bikes and components. Mostly I was just trying out the 29er instead of the 26 that I was accustomed to. I haven't tried the Cannondale because I can't get on it locally, but I would test before I buy IF making the trip seems worthwhile.

    Whew...anyway, I'd appreciate any thoughts or opinions! Thanks for reading and thanks for your help.

  2. #2
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    I cannot tell how those two bikes are different, for I'm not familiar with either. But I would say having a local bike shop on your side is a good thing, when you are just starting mountain biking, in my opinion. Once you start riding trails, things break. I bent the deraileur hanger on my very first ride. The fork started leaking oil not too long after. Everytime something happened, my LBS fixed it and I could go back to trails in minimal time. So, I would recommend purchasing a first serious MTB at a rather closer bike shop.

  3. #3
    T.W.O
    Reputation: pfox90's Avatar
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    When it comes down to parts this close I believe that Kazie has a good point in choosing a shop that you have familiarity with and that is closer to you. I will say that deore came on my sortie 2 and it is complete garbage because I am used to sram x9 or higher... the alivio stuff that is coming on bikes is better than it has been in the past and shifts quite nicely for still being considered entry level. Also the RST is the better fork. In the end.. your buying a bike with the hopes of getting the best for your money.. I'm sure the dudes at your LBS would be fine with doing labor on it if you bring it into them.
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  4. #4
    Suckin wind like a boss
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    i got a buddy who just yesterday drove about 75 miles to buy a '11 spesh 29er squish bike, all because his old hardtail was a spesh... when he has 2 other lbs within 20 min of home that sell giant, scott, intense, and other great bikes. as a matter of fact, one of them has the scott demo truck coming today and they are bringing a slew of 29ers. im going to go and ride the piss out of them (the shop is across the street from a great trail system), hes gonna come out after work and ride his new ride.

    i have been telling him for weeks about this, and out of the blue he decided to drive to a bike shop so far away that he will NEVER take it back to them for any maintenance- if he cant do the maintenance himself he will be paying the guys at one of the 2 LBS to do it for him, just because the ride to the shop where he bought it is a $40 round trip, in gas.

    I thought it was a dumb move. He paid retail, at an LBS, and he will never be able to take advantage of the free tune-ups and stuff they offer. I understand he has an affinity for specialized- hes been riding the same hardtail frame for 12, 13 years and the only thing stock on it, is the frame- but still. Silly choice IMO, and he could have waited a day to ride something different that he may like better.

    TLDR version: stick with the close one for now. It would be more beneficial to you in the long run, in my opinion.
    If you arent bleeding, you arent riding hard enough.
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  5. #5
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    I would go with the Cannondale, my brother got one last year and he says its a great bike (and he beats the hell out em!)...But with such similar specs, its just a matter of style preference at this point in my opinion

  6. #6
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I'd just get the Scott.

    Non-weird head tube. Head angle for pointing at the bottom of things. Available locally.

    Unless you think you'd dwell on not having ridden the Cannondale.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
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    The most important factor is which bike feels more comfortable for you. I'm a huge Cannondale fan and bike owner but don't get caught up in the whole popularity game. As long you enjoy the ride and feel of the bike that is what's most important. If you can try to find a Cannnondale to test ride if not I feel the Scott is still a solid bike to ride with. Good Luck...

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