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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Thread: Second Bike

  1. #1
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    Second Bike

    Starting to look at getting my second mountain bike. Have been riding a 09 GF Tarpon, and it is on its last legs... or wheels . I have been looking at FS bikes, but the prices have been a bit scary. Is it too early to start looking at building my own bike? It seems like a good idea, since I don't have 1.5k to drop just like that, and I could buy the parts one or two at a time.

    Have also been curious about the Airborne Maruauder. I have heard it is a good base to start if you're looking to upgrade, but how long would it be able to go without upgrading? I am just a little cautious.

    I guess what I am looking for here is some ideas, or just to be pointed out in the right direction from those who have had far more experience than I with bikes.

  2. #2
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    Building a bike part by part will most always be more expensive than buying one complete. Not sure about the longevity of the Marauder or the parts with which it comes, depends a lot on your riding style and the conditions you ride in.

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    used used used.

    This bike sold for $700, fox equipped front and rear, fizik, etc

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiejo View Post
    Starting to look at getting my second mountain bike. Have been riding a 09 GF Tarpon, and it is on its last legs... or wheels . I have been looking at FS bikes, but the prices have been a bit scary. Is it too early to start looking at building my own bike? It seems like a good idea, since I don't have 1.5k to drop just like that, and I could buy the parts one or two at a time.

    Have also been curious about the Airborne Maruauder. I have heard it is a good base to start if you're looking to upgrade, but how long would it be able to go without upgrading? I am just a little cautious.

    I guess what I am looking for here is some ideas, or just to be pointed out in the right direction from those who have had far more experience than I with bikes.
    Absolutely first thing you need to do is evaluate what kind of riding you plan on doing. You're going from one of the most entry level HT you can have to a 6" travel coil suspension beast; are you sure that's what you want? It's what I want, but is it what you want? What trails do you find yourself riding most? What trails would you like to be riding? Does your current bike hold you back in some way? If so, does a 6" travel bike mean that you will not be held back in that way? Have you ever rode a bike like that? Do you know what it will be like out on the trail?

    Second thing is that you need to realize that buying a bike complete from the manufacturer will almost always be a better value than buying something and upgrading or building from a frame up. Completes benefit from the manufacturer being able to buy parts in huge quantities which means that each part for them costs less than if you were to go to a store (even a discount or sale store) and buy it yourself. You can do pretty well by shopping hard, but that requires a lot of time waiting and shopping, something I have no patience for.

    Building from a frame up means that you get every part exactly what you want; no compromises that you don't make yourself. It can be very rewarding but will take the absolute longest amount of time and cost you more money in general. You also will want to buy the tools required to install these parts because bike shops make their money in labor costs; if you didn't buy the parts from them, they're likely to charge you a pretty penny to install them. If you did buy the parts from them, sometimes they'll throw in free installation. It really depends on the particular shop.

    This leaves us with buying a complete bike with the intention to upgrade the parts (all or some, it's basically the same argument). The benefit is that you get a bike right now that is serviceable; you can ride it immediately. Then you start putting new this or that on it and intend on making it a better bike; again, not really a problem. Therein lies the same issue, complete bikes are a better use of your money; just because you have a bike to ride and you spread out the investment for the time while you ride the bike doesn't mean that you aren't spending more money to get potentially less for that money.

    Let's take that $700 Airborne bike as an example. The fork, I am assuming is a junk show. There is no way Spinner makes a 6" fork that won't be of questionable function in some way. So you find a Rock Shock Sektor (or something, this is an example I'm not actually checking specs and shopping) for $350. Then you realize that those Tektro brakes are absolutely useless (they are) so you pop down $100 for a set of BB7s that you find online. No problem, your rig is pretty well equipped right now and will probably function well. Maybe some of the parts won't last a super long time, but you've solved the two biggest question marks I would have about that bike and spent in the neighborhood of $1200 overall.

    Well for around $300 additional dollars you could have bought, for example, a Giant Trance X4 straight off the bike shop floor. You would have been able to test ride it, you would probably get a period of free maintenance, maybe a discount on other accessories you might want like new gloves or a different helmet, and you could sleep pretty well knowing if something happens to the frame you can throw it back at the shop's face and make them fix it instead of hoping the mysterious internet company will warranty your bike. You would have also have got a 9 speed drivetrain though in lower or equivalent spec level, hydraulic brakes which are actually pretty decent, Shimano Hollowtec II crank with removable (replaceable) chainrings, and tires that are for more than keeping the rims off the ground in the showroom among others.

    Listen, I'm being a bit hard on the Airborne to prove a point: upgrading a bike is rarely cost effective. I'll be honest, I understand we all live in a world where we don't have our money up front most of the time so we have to save up. If you can feasibly do so, meaning that you don't have to wait years and that you don't have to resort to kidnapping, then it makes the most sense to save the money and spend it up front. You get more for your dollar which translates to a bike that will work better for longer with less need to spend money on it to keep it running. If you can't feasibly save up the money in a reasonable amount of time then get what you can, but make sure you're getting it with the proper knowledge that upgrading is an endless cycle and it will get expensive.

    Another option, of course, is the used market. This opens an entire Pandora's box of issues which I'll leave for another excessively long post if needed. Suffice to say that I've seen many many more lemons bought on the used market than I have seen good buys. The good buys out out there, but the used market is a minefield of intentionally and unintentionally mis-marketed bikes which can really screw you when you aren't 100% sure of what you're looking at and what you're looking for.

    I think that with the proper assessment of what kind of riding you plan on doing and a proper assessment of what your budget is now and in the near future, you can make some pretty good calls about what you feel comfortable about spending your money on. The Airborne isn't an inherently bad bike, not hardly, but if you are buying any inexpensive bike with an eye toward upgrading instantly then you can probably do better with your money or at least make sure you know what you're getting yourself into.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    What trails do you find yourself riding most? What trails would you like to be riding? Does your current bike hold you back in some way? If so, does a 6" travel bike mean that you will not be held back in that way? Have you ever rode a bike like that? Do you know what it will be like out on the trail?
    Thank you for taking the time to type that up.

    The trails that I ride are dirt, little sand, LOTS o' roots, singletrack. I would say roughly 65% of it is downhill. I would love to eventually jump into the freeride world, but that will be a ways away, though I love to dream. There are drops, which I do attempt. I just cringe everytime at the thought of cracking my frame or bending a rim, which has happened twice already. All the downhill sections have roots, which jar the hell out of me. It would be nice to fly down them without bouncing everywhere. I do have room to improve on my body suspension though.. I have never ridden a FS bike, apart from a Walmart one. I can only imagine what it would be like. My LBS's do not carry FS bike unfortunately, and I doubt they would order one in just for me to try it out.

    EDIT: There is no set budget as of this moment. I will have to save up anyways, but looking to keep it under $1,500.
    Last edited by Kiejo; 07-16-2012 at 11:48 AM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiejo View Post
    Thank you for taking the time to type that up.

    The trails that I ride are dirt, little sand, LOTS o' roots, singletrack. I would say roughly 65% of it is downhill. I would love to eventually jump into the freeride world, but that will be a ways away, though I love to dream. There are drops, which I do attempt. I just cringe everytime at the thought of cracking my frame or bending a rim, which has happened twice already. All the downhill sections have roots, which jar the hell out of me. It would be nice to fly down them without bouncing everywhere. I do have room to improve on my body suspension though.. I have never ridden a FS bike, apart from a Walmart one. I can only imagine what it would be like. My LBS's do not carry FS bike unfortunately, and I doubt they would order one in just for me to try it out.

    EDIT: There is no set budget as of this moment. I will have to save up anyways, but looking to keep it under $1,500.
    I can't help you much but I can say that I would have an awful hard time parting with $1500 on a bike I hadn't tried out. You must live near enough a few bike shops that actually have some bikes in stock; perhaps a drive is in order?

    Another way to go is to find out if any of the major manufacturers are having a demo day near or near enough to you. I have the ultimate good fortune to live close enough to Outerbike, but demo fleets are constantly traveling the country, hopefully you can find one near to you. That Airborne is such a strange beast, I'm not sure it would be the front runner for me. I'd probably be trolling the used market before I settled for that.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiejo View Post
    Starting to look at getting my second mountain bike. Have been riding a 09 GF Tarpon, and it is on its last legs... or wheels . I have been looking at FS bikes, but the prices have been a bit scary. Is it too early to start looking at building my own bike? It seems like a good idea, since I don't have 1.5k to drop just like that, and I could buy the parts one or two at a time.

    Have also been curious about the Airborne Maruauder. I have heard it is a good base to start if you're looking to upgrade, but how long would it be able to go without upgrading? I am just a little cautious.

    I guess what I am looking for here is some ideas, or just to be pointed out in the right direction from those who have had far more experience than I with bikes.
    check out used FS bikes....

    Maintain the old bike...so you can then maintain the newer bike...

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