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: Test rides!

  1. #1
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    Test rides!

    Started to test bikes today! Rode the trek x-caliber 8 and 6. Rode the Cannondale Trail 29er SL3. I was not really impressed with the trek. Seemed slower and more for lack of a better word "klunky". May try the x-caliber 9 yet. seemed like the 9 has a very similar setup as the sl3 but $200 more.The Cannondale was lighter and seemed much faster! Was really much more nimble also. Really felt good. Getting kinda excited now!

    Am Off of work tomorrow and will be riding some Jamis 29ers, Felt, Scott, and specialized. All 29ers. Wish there was a way to ride some of the airborne,bette ect.. Trying to not make any rash decisions just to get a bike.

  2. #2
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    Flat parking lot test rides don't always show you what the handling of a bike will be like when you need the most out of it-- on fast bumpy downhills and through turns, both sharp and at speed. You can get a bit more info by riding any 'features' while you are testing. Like up and down grassy hils or in and out of ditches. The 71 degree ht angle on Cannondale bikes can seem fast and easy to control on flat pavement but be twitchy and unstable on fun/difficult trails. Trek uses more fork offset(51 vs 46mm) to speed up steering and a slacker ht angle for stability. I like the geo of the 14 Superfly which is a further refinement.. The carbon frame of the 9.6 adds great damping and trail feel. Test ride that bike.

  3. #3
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    Well I think I found what I am getting! Shop about 20 mins from my home has A 2013 Trek stache 7 for $1200.00 out the door! Rode Specialized,Felt,Kona,and a rockhound that belongs to the owner of the shop I rode the stache at. He has the rockhound all kinds of done up! Best of everything! I am not ready for that bike. Fell twice behind the shop. Was very unforgiving! The Stache was really NICE! Will be riding the cannondale I liked again tomorrow and a felt Trail 50. Then make my decision. I did like the rockhopper but not the low end components.The Stache is a $1700.00 bike. Is speched out nicely. Its kinda a no brainer. Don't really like the color(burnt orange)but at that price could learn to like it! Also cool I got to jump some curbs and run into ditches and do some running in the woods with them! All were good but the deal so far has to be the Stache!

    Any input would be greatly appreaciated!
    Thanks
    Bill

  4. #4
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    It's difficult to say because the seatpost fore/aft, height adustment, stem length, and angle, and handlebar width can all make a particular bike feel different. Try to think of your choices as frames with a collection of parts mounted on them. Like that Gunnar Rockhound that the shop owner has all tricked out, it's a much different bike than stock.

    Some of those parts you will want to replace (not necessarily upgrade) with those that fit you better.

    Not to mention the tires. Unfortunately a lot of racy bikes that look nice come under-tired for beginners. For instance the Cannondale Trail SL3 comes with Kenda Small Block 8s--not a confidence-inspiring tire. The Bontrager 29-3s on the Stache are OK but you could do better. If you replaced those with something like Schwalbe Nobby Nics, I'll bet you'd have more fun.

    Shimano SLX is a good, solid drivetrain that will work well with future parts upgrades, good choice.

  5. #5
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    Hi chomxx. I have since ridden several different bikes. I am seriously thinkin about a 2013 Superfly al. It had the lets go play attitude of the sl3 with the stability of the Stache. Also rode the cannondale SL2. Another really nice ride! Its down to the Superfly and the sl2 I think. The superfly is $1300 out the door.Don't think I will need to upgrade for A while. The cannondale is $1250 plus tax. It is also a 2014. Whichever I get will be a nice bike!My problem is I havent been able to ride the two on the same day. Kinda forget what one feels like in a couple days.I need to clear about 4 hrs to ride em both on the same day. I think I will get another cheaper wheelset with whatever I buy to use as a tire for the asphault trail that is about a half mile away. Will get a better tire for the dirt wheelset. Or I may get a craigslist road bike. Will probably keep an eye on ebay for a wheelset. Thats where I am for now. I am excited to get one and get started!!

    Thanks
    Bill

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    The Superfly AL is a good frame. I have a '12 Superfly AL Elite. I like the way Treks handle, and planned to get an X-Caliber.

    However, I rode the Superfly AL Elite at a factory demo and liked it. My skill level at the time was such that I couldn't really tell the difference between the two. The SF was a little lighter was all. But the SF AL Elite was only about $400 more, so I went for it.

    I'm glad I did -- after getting a couple years experience under my belt, I notice a big difference -- the Superfly feels much more rigid and controllable. And lighter never hurts.
    Last edited by DennisF; 01-21-2014 at 09:11 PM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Test rides!

    The superfly would be a good bike if you like xc riding/racing. If you have any desire to get into chunk then the Stache is your bike. FWIW, I wrote a review on a Stache 6 I rode for a couple months in the Trek forum. Great color scheme, btw and a decent bike overall.
    Please donate to IMBA or your local chapter. It's trail karma.

  8. #8
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    Was it the FS or hardtail Superfly?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    It's a hardtail. Will be riding hardtail for a while. Need to get the best bang for the buck. Speaking of that,have you heard much about the Airborne Goblin? They are really speced up bikes for the $$. Only drawback is not at lbs and as a newbie I have been buying the lbs as well as the bike. I will need some advice as time goes on and the free tuneup is a plus! I am pretty sure I will go lbs to buy but I need to cover the bases. These bikes are speced up and gettin great reviews. Thought I would ask. In the end it's my decision and I really want to make it an informed one. You guys know more than I do.
    Thanks
    Bill

  10. #10
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    All of the on line bikes tell you about the highlites ,they don't tell you where they save some money. Might be a cheaper frame , hubs, rims ,headset,or older 9 speed cassette.They save money by not having dealers .If you have a problem you might have to send it back.

  11. #11
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    I haven't tried either of the Superflies. But I'd encourage everyone to try turning off the platform and compression damping stuff on the shock when they demo a FS.

    I've only seen what people post about Airborne bikes - haven't seen one "in the wild" yet. I do think there's some value-added in buying from a shop. The clearance price on the Superfly ought to narrow the component gap.

    For disclaimer, this isn't a decision I've had to make. I've done secondhand for bikes I wanted to be really cheap and stayed "on-brand" with my team for the one I picked up recently.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  12. #12
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    What's your team Andrew? The shop I found for the treks is A pretty cool shop. He has A Kurig set up in the store and the folks who frequent the place hang out and have coffee and spend $$$. They are a nice bunch of folks and they are very helpful. The superfly will probably be the choice. Sucks that you can't ride the airbourne lineup. But there is something to be said forthe lbs.

  13. #13
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    Just a local amateur team. I don't think our deals are better than anybody else's, but you can bet that team members are getting something in exchange for wearing a shop's name and logo somewhere. In my case, if I'm not in a rush, it means I can get about the same prices a good shopper gets on the Internet if I order from a team form. But, I don't have to shop around.

    I hear the shop likes it in part because the teams they support in return give them a bunch of revenue during the off-season.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  14. #14
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    I talked to Eric at airborne today. Real nice guy! talked a while and I will need to decide soon. Although not able to ride it now with the snow but will soon be able to. I do like the looks of the Airbourne Goblin. And the pkg is really hard to beat. Talked to a couple guys that earlier year Airbourne and they swear by them! I guess I can learn to make adjustments on this bike if needed. I do like the idea of supporting the lbs but man.
    Anyways I will be riding the Superfly 1 more time to see if it is what I want. I think the SL2 is out.

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    I've got nothing at all against a good internet deal, but as a novice coupled with the fact that your LBS gives you a good vibe, I might lean towards buying from them. Some shops will give you a percentage off of some future purchases of parts and accessories if you buy your bike from them. They may also offer discounts to members of local clubs or trailwork and advocacy groups (10% is typical in my area). The more you start getting into riding, it's pretty likely you'll be looking for things like tools, gloves, shoes, tools, etc. A good relationship with a local shop is never a bad thing.
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  16. #16
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    Man the hits just keep on coming! Got a call from lbs today, they got a cannondale f29 1
    he just knocked down to $1699 from $2700. Real nice bike at that price. It is a lefty but it does ride nice! More than I want to spend but the guy even will throw $100 store credit in with 10% off accessories on day of purchase. He wants to get rid of this thing.

    On the airborne I don't know if I want the 2x10 or not. Still like the bike but not sure. There is always the Superfly!

    Every time I think I got it narrowed down something else hits!

  17. #17
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    There comes a time when you gotta **** or get off the pot.
    Pull the trigger on one of those things. Flip a coin if you've gotta.
    The perfect bike is the one your riding.
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  18. #18
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    That Cannondale F29-1 is listed as having a 24/38 crankset, just like the Airborne Goblin does. They both have 10 speed 11-36 cassettes too, so the gearing is virtually identical.

  19. #19
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    The difference between the 2x10 with a 24/38 crankset and a bike with 3x10 and 22/32/44 is roughly one gear at the each end. In other words, that last gear when you're riding in the large chainring, and slightly less low end for the super steep climbing.

    IME, I can live with the 38t for the largest chainring as I rarely feel I'm losing something I really NEED, and I have found that I adapt pretty quickly when going from a 22t small chainring to a 24t. The plus side to a 2x chainring drivetrain is one less chainring to worry about (which one you're currently using), and the front derailleur is easier to keep adjusted properly. I would love a 22/38, but no one makes one. I think it would probably work if you rigged one up, but no 2x front derailleurs are spec'd to have that big of a jump between chainrings.

  20. #20
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    I think the Lefty is pretty cool. I guess they have some disadvantages regarding transport and I wonder about maintenance, but they're supposed to have the traditional design beat on torsional stiffness and sticktion. Dunno if I'd be able to feel the difference... Certainly I wouldn't pass up a bike because it had a Lefty.

    Now that I have one, I'm not a huge fan of 24/38 chainring combinations. The 38's a little high for me. Not enough to swap it out as long as it's working, but when I have to pay money for a new ring anyway, I'll take a little time with a gear chart and choose something smaller.

    Sounds like you've got some good options to choose from at this point.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  21. #21
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    Test rides!

    Not much need for a chainring larger than 36 on a 29er; wouldn't be that expensive to switch it out

  22. #22
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    I guess the 2x10 would not make that much diff. I Guess I just need to do it! Must decide if I want to spend that much. Still Would also be nice to ride it first! All the snow is making it tough to test out bikes! $1700 is a lot of cash!

  23. #23
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    I'm surprised the Airborne is competitive with the bikes you're being offered deep discounts on. Usually that kind of sale price puts them on a pretty even footing. I'd just ignore the catalogs if they weren't offering me a higher spec, and go with something I'd ridden locally.

    You can always wait if you're not interested in riding in the snow. Airborne's prices aren't going to change. The deals at your local shops might not last.

    You can also start with a secondhand bike. You really cut down the loss you take. If you don't drastically overpay and you don't destroy it, they don't have a lot of depreciating left to do.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  24. #24
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    That's true Andrew. I am kinda thinking the same thing. The price on the f29-1 is really good especially since he is throwing in $100 store credit. The bike is speced well with x9 and similar components. The superfly is still there also. Looked at the used market but not impressed with the pickins in my area. Still got time. I have also been riding a bit larger bike (21) and finding it to be a little more comfy while riding than the 19. If I do get the f29 1 I will have effectively blown past the original budget by $1100!LOL Shouldn't need to upgrade though for quit a while!

  25. #25
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    Definitely look into the sizing thing. There's a reason bikes come in so many sizes, and they really are a lot more fun if you get it right. Bear in mind that there's a lot of adjustability. For me, the thing that's really immutable about a size is the weight distribution, which comes out in how the bike handles.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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