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  1. #1
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    Beginner hardtail bike, what to do?

    Hey everyone! I'm looking for a hardtail 26er for a quality beginner bike with a firm $500 budget. (Like a lot of other people I'm sure) I'm 17 so I don't have a lot of money coming my way, so I cant get anything too expensive..

    One thing that I am trying to decide is wether I should buy a new bike or used. There is a trek 6500 locally for $300, and one of my friends has a 2011 Giant Iguana that he wants about the same for. However I'm liking the sound of a new bike especially because I don't know the frame size on these bikes and at 5'10'' (mostly torso) and 130 pounds, I feel like I would like the shorter frames (18-20").

    With that being said, there are several bikes I'm looking at.
    1) Giant Revel 1
    2) Trek 4500
    3) Diamondback response
    4) Specialized hardrock

    First, if there is a bike that I'm missing that has better components and what not then let me know! But out of these which is the overall best?
    The suspension isn't a concern to me, I have a rockshox sektor r that I will be installing. Whichever bike I get does have to have a zero stack ht though because the fork is tapered.

    So all of that being said, what is everyones input on these bikes?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by ANoLEN View Post
    But out of these which is the overall best?
    I would recommend that you try to ride as many, if not all, of the bikes you're considering. The one that is "best" for you may not be the one that is best for me or anyone else on this forum.

    All of the bikes you've listed would be good choices. I'm sure you'll get lots of other brand suggestions and before you know it, your head will be spinning and you'll have paralysis from analysis.

    My advice is don't do that to yourself. Keep your options open and throw a leg over as many bikes as you can in your budget, new and used, until you come across the one that just puts a big smile on your face and feels right and makes you want to hit the trails as often as you can.

    One last suggestion is to make a visit into a few of your LBS (local bike shops) and look around. See how you're treated. What's the vibe like? Is the staff helpful? Friendly? Knowledgeable? Rude? Arrogant? Were you ignored? I would personally base a LOT of my purchase decision on the bike shop you like the most because you're probably going to need to service the bike, buy a few accessories or upgrade a few parts, ask a few questions, etc. A good relationship with your LBS makes all the difference in the world in enjoying your new bike and enjoying the sport, IMO.Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Thanks! I really appreciate replies like that instead of "if it costs less than 800 it's not a real bike" lol. That's a good point, problem with my local bike shop is that the owner takes trips frequently and he's gone until feb 22nd. But that will give me some time to look around and I defiantly want to check out his selection when he gets back. Good to know that these are all good though, now it's a matter of testing and all the little details. Well thanks again!

  4. #4
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    Not sure if similar sales run in your area but all the trek dealers around my neck of the woods have a hundred dollar off sale every spring, Can't remember exactly when so ask your local trek dealer. I have a friend who rides a 3700 Disc that he got for a hundred bucks under list price (about 450 out the door) last year and besides upgrading the tires and pedals saw 1900 miles of use this last season, most of which was single track riding. While it may not have the best components on earth for the money it is a super solid ride. Staying on top of maintenance is key, unless the components are just bad to begin with...

    Used bikes are also always a good option, There are usually bike swap meets this time of year where some very good deals can be had.

    Good luck in your search, Whatever you end up with, you will fall in love with I am sure.

  5. #5
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    Well right now I'm leaning towards the response sport. Online it's on sale for $318 which is even less than the trek 3500 locally

  6. #6
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    Does the response have a zero stack head tube?

  7. #7
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    Not sure that replacing the stock fork of whichever bike you buy with a Sektor is a good idea. I know it sounds good, the sektor is a nice fork, and has more travel, and all that. However, most or all the bikes you are looking at are built for forks with 100mm of travel, as a general rule of thumb it is not a good idea to go more than 10mm over or under what a bike is designed for, and I believe the sektor has 150mm of travel. Also I am pretty sure that all these bikes have a 1-1/8" headset, this means a tapered fork will not work, as tapered forks go from 1-1/8 to 1-1/5". As to bikes, I have had a great deal of luck with used bikes, mostly off craigslist. Be very wary of wicked deals, and never pay what someone is asking, but you can often get a much better bike used than you might be able to afford new. just my 2 cents..
    Ridin' fo' dayzz

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  8. #8
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    I agree with FeltDH, the Sektor is a cool fork but will not work well with the bikes you are considering. It will throw off the handling and could compromise the integrity of your frame by introducing stresses it was never designed to handle. Also the Sektor is likely a thru axle fork which the bikes in your price range will not have meaning you'd have to spend an additional $100 or so for a compatible wheel.

    If I were you I would sell the Sektor and put the money into a 29er hardtail. 26in hardtails are disappearing fast and won't be worth much when it comes time to upgrade. As far as sizing goes you should start with a 17-18in or Medium frame size, a 20in is much too large unless you plan to ride exclusively on the road.

    Bikes at the $500 price point will all be very similar so buy the one that rides the best, if you are up for taking a bit of a risk the Airborne Guardian is an excellent bike and can be had for $600 online.

    If you are determined to keep the fork look for a used full suspension bike with a similar amount of travel that has the right headtube type, headtube length, and front axle type. Make SURE to take a knowledgeable friend with you - buying used mountain bikes is not for the faint of heart and you can really get screwed if you don't know what to look out for.
    Last edited by azmtbkr81; 01-23-2013 at 07:19 PM.

  9. #9
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    Yeah that makes sense.. Well bummer. I have the fork already, just came in today. Since it wont be fitting on my bike I guess that means its for sale

  10. #10
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    I would pick up a used Specialized Rockhopper hard tail or something of that level if I were you. It's a good basis for upgrading. I picked up my Rockhopper for $200 from a graduating senior when I was a freshman in college (I'm a senior now). It has treated very well, I've been picking parts up for cheap over the past 3 years from eBay. It's now a full XT and up bike that weighs in at around 22lbs.

    Personally I prefer to to buy bikes pre-loved, new bikes lose about 40% of their value after just 1 season if you go mid-high end.

    As for the long torso, perhaps crab a 120mm stem and mount flat bars.

  11. #11
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    Do you know what type of steer tube your Sektor has? If you want to keep it and can scare up a few hundred more bucks you could piece together a pretty cool long travel hardtail bike using a frame like this:

    On-One 456 Evo Frame

  12. #12
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    I agree with the ride as many as you can and get what feels best to you idea. I have ridden more than i can count in the last week trying to decide what to get.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by azmtbkr81 View Post
    Do you know what type of steer tube your Sektor has? If you want to keep it and can scare up a few hundred more bucks you could piece together a pretty cool long travel hardtail bike using a frame like this:

    On-One 456 Evo Frame
    What do you mean by what type? It's tapered which will mean I'd have to get a tapered bearing for the bottom and add a few mm to the height. And the fork is adjustable down to 120mm of travel, but it's still 20 more than stock.

    I actually got to ride a Response xe at Dick's today and I really liked the feel of it. And it's somewhat local, so that bike is looking pretty good for me. Part of me wants to keep the fork and part of me is saying sell it (which i'm trying) and get a Rockshox xc28 or xc32

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ANoLEN View Post
    What do you mean by what type? It's tapered which will mean I'd have to get a tapered bearing for the bottom and add a few mm to the height. And the fork is adjustable down to 120mm of travel, but it's still 20 more than stock.

    I actually got to ride a Response xe at Dick's today and I really liked the feel of it. And it's somewhat local, so that bike is looking pretty good for me. Part of me wants to keep the fork and part of me is saying sell it (which i'm trying) and get a Rockshox xc28 or xc32
    I'm not sure if you understand the tapered fork. Maybe I'm just missing your understanding in translation.
    A tapered fork starts out at 1.5" at the bottom of the steer tube and tapers to 1 1/8" at the top of the tube. The bike has to have a head tube capable of accepting a headset that will work with a 1.5" tube. Basically, the standard 44mm headtube on the bikes you are looking at will not work with a tapered fork and a zero stack headset. I have heard talk of some external cup headsets that will adapt a 44mm headtube that was set up with a zero stack headset for use with a 1.5 steer tube, but I wouldn't know where to find them or which bikes they will work for. In order to go this route, you would have to replace the lower headset with an external cup for a 1.5" steer tube diameter (if this even exists). This would also add some length to your lower stack height adding even more to the increased length of the sektor fork and throwing the geometry off even more. The headset upper would not need to be modified because it is already set up for a 1 1/8" steer tube.
    Bikes that are set up for tapered forks have tapered headtubes. They are usually 44mm at the top and 56mm (or some other wider diameter) at the bottom. Some bikes come with 1.5 inch straight forks (no taper). These bikes have a wider headtube top and bottom with no taper. These can be easier to adapt to a tapered fork because you just replace the upper headset stack with a cup that is meant for a 1 1/8" bearing (I think these are available somewhere for most bikes). Of course, none of this is possible if the bike has integrated headset. If that is the case, you have to stick with the steer tube diameter that was original to the bike.

  15. #15
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    Re: Beginner hardtail bike, what to do?

    I agree with the ride it before you buy it. I actually have a Trek4500, that no matter what new bikes I ride and want to replace it with, nothing seems to have the same fit or feel. Mine is an 02 model with several upgrades(by choice and from previous owner) only real maintenance ive done is replacement of every bearing just as a precaution when i bought it used in 06, cables, pads etc and other regular maint. doesn't count

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

  16. #16
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    I hear your interest and don't want to be dismissive yet this sort of question has been asked so many time over so many years. Consider someone asking this in 1995. As we look back we have to chuckle because the differences between such bikes at that time were negligible. Comparing a 1995 Rockhopper to a 2011 Rockhopper? Huge difference.

    Folks tend to think that simply because you can list all the parts and compare them that they can expose critical differences which are significant. At this level they just aren't. Compare a $700 bike and a $1500 bike and the differences are significant. Compare $700 bike to a $700 bike........

    Below is the very first statement I typed when I saw your question. Above is an attempt to be a bit nicer.

    Don't overthink this. Pick one you like, that fits, that feels good. Buy from the shop that will give you the most support.
    I don't rattle.

  17. #17
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    I picket up the Diamondback response yesterday for $380 and a 10% discount for signing up for the credit card. I'll get to actually ride it today when I get home from school, but the little bit I did ride it felt really good, and just comfortable which is the most important I think

  18. #18
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    Congrats. Ride well.
    I don't rattle.

  19. #19
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    Re: Beginner hardtail bike, what to do?

    My brother really liked his DB, nice purchase

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