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  1. #1
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    Best full suspension bikes under $1500?

    Over the last couple of months, I've been mulling over which bike to get next. Iím considering a 29er, 650b, or full suspension 26er. I'm starting to lean toward the full suspension 26er, because the 650bs seem like a ripoff for the parts spec, the 29ers seem a little too big for a 5'7" guy like me, and I really enjoyed riding the bike that got me into full suspensions, a Schwinn Rocket Comp. I ended up getting rid of it because it was a tank at 36 pounds, and it was slower than my 2 hardtails. However, it was a lot easier on my body, and more fun to ride downhill, which is why I want to pick up another FS, but with better specs and lighter this time around.

    Below I've listed some full suspension bikes for under $1500. What do you think about the different options in frame design? Check out the design of the rear suspension on each bike. Iím pretty sure all of these will be better than the Schwinn! I'm most interested in a bike that will climb well, and be fast on the downhills.

    Option 1, The Giant Ė I might be able to pick up one of these for around $900 locally. Only problem is that components are all pretty much low endÖbut the frame has proven geometry.

    Yukon FX (2013) - Bikes | Giant Bicycles | United States



    Option 2, The Sette Ė Nice bike, good reviews, and probably best overall specs, but this one is looking like a $1500 bike after delivery.

    Sette Derro 2.0 SLX Dual Suspension 4inch Mountain Bike at Price Point



    Option 3, The Corratech - I just learned about this bike. Turns out the company is located in Germany, but it looks pretty sweet! The frame design looks unique. This one seems like a bargain at just over $1200 delivered!

    Corratec AirTech Zone 2012 | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com



    Option 4, The KHS - Looks like a popular frame design, very similar to the Giant. Parts spec aren't great, but better than the Giant. I can probably pick up one of these for about $1200 locally.

    XC 104 | KHS Bicycles



    Option 5 - The Jamis - Better specs than the Giant. Similar frame design to the Sette. I can probably pick up one of these for around $1000.

    2012 JAMIS BICYCLES - SPECIFICATIONS


    Overall, I'm pretty familiar with most of the specs of these bikes, but I'm open to suggestions, although I'm not familiar with several of the fork models. I'm most curious about how one full suspension frame design might be better than the other. I probabably won't buy right away, as you can usually get better deals on bikes after Christmas. I will probably miss out on the Corratech, as I don't anticipate it lasting that long, but that looks like a DARN good bike for the price for anyone who is looking! Anyway, let me know what you think!
    Last edited by getagrip; 10-24-2012 at 08:53 PM.

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    My thoughts

    Have you looked into buying a used bike off Craigslist or MTBR's classified area ?. I think if you cap yourself at $1500 you will outgrow the bike quickly (or need to update parts).

    I have rode 29/650 & 26's. I prefer 26 cause theyre just more fun in my opinion. The 29 is fast due to large wheels, but I think it rolls to easy and takes away some of the thrill. I also think that at 5'7 the bike will feel to big for you.

    Depending on what type of trails you will be riding (downhill or cross country) will factor into the head angle you want on the bike, and how much suspension. I'm by no means real well versed but from my research it looks like 67/68 degree head angles are good for downhill as that it "slacks" the front fork out. Most cross country bikes are closer to 70/71 degrees which allows for fast turns.

    Suspension wise if you are not doing serious downhill runs you may want to limit yourself to smaller travel suspension bikes so you dont get the weight and "bobb" of long travel bikes.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by lpranger467 View Post
    Have you looked into buying a used bike off Craigslist or MTBR's classified area ?. I think if you cap yourself at $1500 you will outgrow the bike quickly (or need to update parts).

    I have rode 29/650 & 26's. I prefer 26 cause theyre just more fun in my opinion. The 29 is fast due to large wheels, but I think it rolls to easy and takes away some of the thrill. I also think that at 5'7 the bike will feel to big for you.

    Depending on what type of trails you will be riding (downhill or cross country) will factor into the head angle you want on the bike, and how much suspension. I'm by no means real well versed but from my research it looks like 67/68 degree head angles are good for downhill as that it "slacks" the front fork out. Most cross country bikes are closer to 70/71 degrees which allows for fast turns.

    Suspension wise if you are not doing serious downhill runs you may want to limit yourself to smaller travel suspension bikes so you dont get the weight and "bobb" of long travel bikes.
    Thanks for your response. The local Craigslist in my area stinks. Every once in a while, you can find a really good deal on a bike in my area, but not very often. I have considered ordering a higher end used bike on eBay, such as Trek Fuel EX7, if I can find one in my budget and in my size. I'm 40 years old and I'm not a really aggressive rider, so I'm not too concerned about outgrowing my bike, but I would like to get a good quality bike with good quality parts, which is why the Giant model with Acera parts doesn't appeal to me as much as the Sette Derro or something better, UNLESS the frame design would compensate for the difference in parts quality. For instance, the parts on the Schwinn were not all that bad, and I think with a different frame design and the same parts, the bike would have performed much better, which is why I'm really interested in the performance level and advantages/disadvantages of different FS frames, not to say that I didn't enjoy the Schwinn.

    However, since I started mountain biking off road about a year and a half ago, I have noticed that I'm more particular about certain things than I used to be, such as the fork, and it would be nice to get something with an air fork, rather than a coil fork. I did get a chance to take a brief test ride on my friend's $4,500 Air Niner, and I was amazed by how light it was, and how easily it pedaled and climbed...but I don't have $4,500 to spend on a bike! So, I have to see what I can get, preferably for less than $1200, but I'd go a little higher if I can justify it with better frame design and/or components. If I could choose one or the other, though, I'd have to go with frame design and weight over components, but it would be nice to have the best of both worlds, with at least a high quality frame and a good fork to go with it. Those are the two most important things for me in a new bike, in that order.
    Last edited by getagrip; 10-24-2012 at 10:23 PM.

  4. #4
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    $1500 you should be able to get a giant trance x so look around.

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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    If I could choose one or the other, though, I'd have to go with frame design and weight over components, but it would be nice to have the best of both worlds, with at least a high quality frame and a good fork to go with it. Those are the two most important things for me in a new bike, in that order.
    wheels are really critical but non cyclists probably dont even think about them. A good wheelset is going to be 500+ but shaves weight and has good stiffness. Tires are you contact with the ground, good tires run 50-90 each.

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    When it comes to buying full suspension bike, the most important is the frame design, everything else you can upgrade. Do it right, and buy it once.

    I have my fair share of buying some crappy FS bike, brand name too. Some are geometry, some are just designs. With money in hand you are in a driver seat, shop around and demo as many bikes as you can.

    What's work for me when I test ride is to make a few notes of something I don't like right away and evaluate if that's geometry or fitting issue that can be remedied by swapping out cockpit components, then ask the lbs if they'd swapped them out for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by goodmojo View Post
    wheels are really critical but non cyclists probably dont even think about them. A good wheelset is going to be 500+ but shaves weight and has good stiffness. Tires are you contact with the ground, good tires run 50-90 each.
    As an alternative for expensive rims, I've heard that you can go tubeless using a conversion kit to shed weight off the bike. In theory, this should make the bike faster because it sheds rotational weight from the wheels, without breaking the bank.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    When it comes to buying full suspension bike, the most important is the frame design, everything else you can upgrade.
    Yeah, that's pretty much why I created this thread - to learn about the most effective frame designs in my budget. I found another bike brand called Commencal that I've never heard of at Chain Reaction Cycles - they have a pretty cool looking FS design for $1500. Check out the video under the description tab - looks like an impressive ride!

    Commencal Super 4 3 Suspension Bike 2012 | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com

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    I'll tell you for the "bang 4 d bucks" performance design would be the Giant Maestro. It's mini dual links, proven, relatively light weight, and worthy of upgrades. I'm sure you've plan this purchase toward the end of the year, since it's going to give you plenty of options like year-end sales on 2013, or better deal on 2012 or 2011.

    The performance is quite similar to the more expensive Ibis/pivot/turner's DW-link, Intense/Santa Cruz VPP, Yeti, Niner, etc. They do many things well. If you want to get your feet wet in the FS design the Maestro is definitely a good benchmark.

    The anti-squat design keeps it more user friendly when it comes to bike set up, though it would be the plushest overall suspension performance like the 4bar design but there's no need for the aid of any Propedal shock to get firm pedaling feel. Of course we are nit picking here because most good designs are pretty good at giving you the performance you want on the trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    I'll tell you for the "bang 4 d bucks" performance design would be the Giant Maestro. It's mini dual links, proven, relatively light weight, and worthy of upgrades. I'm sure you've plan this purchase toward the end of the year, since it's going to give you plenty of options like year-end sales on 2013, or better deal on 2012 or 2011.
    Does the Yukon FX come with the Maestro design? If so, how does that compare with the KHS design? The KHS design looks a little more advanced considering the contours of the frame.

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    Yukon FX is not a Maestro design it's similar to a horstlink 4bar design, kinda like Khs. You'd get a pretty awesome bike out of both Yukon and Khs but it's not as good as or better than Maestro. If you like the look of Khs consider Titus, they are awesome. Premium brand and proven geometry and design. It's a 4bar design. The price may tip your budget but it's a *****en bike to ride. I own both Racer X and Motolite(FTM). I paid more for each of my Titus(back then) frame than the complete bike I saw on sale last year, wow what a deal.

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    I've also been thinking about a 29er HT or a 26er FS too.... I fully recognize the advantages of the 29er from first hand experience but also recognize how nice a FS is (even 26er) on the trails too thus making it a hard decision.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    $1500 you should be able to get a giant trance x so look around.
    I was also going to suggest this bike. It's hard to beat it in that price point.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

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    Kona Tanuki?

    Good geometry, and a proven/durable design, plus they are pretty fun to ride.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8valvegrowl View Post
    Kona Tanuki?

    Good geometry, and a proven/durable design, plus they are pretty fun to ride.
    Thanks! That was a good suggestion. I'm not seeing anything for the MSRP on the 2012 model, but it was $1399 for 2011 (I think, assuming my 2 minute memory is still good).

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    So I may have figured out what I'm going to do. Just went to a Giant/Raleigh bike shop run by an old fart old / school guy. They have an 18" 2008 Raleigh Mojave 8.0 for sale for $500, brand new. Its been sitting there for about 5 years, gathering dust, and no one seems to want it. A few months ago, they sold the same bike to my ex-girlfriend for $625 and she really likes it. What I might do is buy the bike, strip the parts, and put them on a full suspension frame. I'm leaning toward the Sette Derro frame, which I can pick up for $500 at pricepoint. So, that would be a $1000 for a brand new bike, with decent specs, at least by today's standards. Check out the specs from the Raleigh:

    Fork RockShox Tora 389, 100mm travel (a typo on Bikepedia, I think should be 289)
    Brakeset Avid BB5 w/6" rotor brakes, Avid FR-5 levers
    Shift Levers Shimano Deore
    Front Derailleur Shimano Deore
    Rear Derailleur Shimano Deore
    Crankset Shimano MC442, 22/32/44 teeth
    Bottom Bracket Shimano Octalink ES25
    Rear Cogs 9-speed, 11 - 34 teeth
    Chain Shimano HG50
    Hubs Front: Joytech Disc, Rear: Joytech Disc Cassette
    Rims Weinmann WDR Disc, 32-hole
    Tires 26 x 2.0" Geax Saguaro

    BikePedia - 2008 Raleigh Mojave 8.0 Complete Bicycle

    Does anyone think I can beat the price specs for the price? My guess is I'd be able to get at least $100 out of the Raleigh frame, so that pretty much makes the shipping on the Derro frame free...or whatever frame I decide to get.

  17. #17
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    I would look for a lightly used bike on ebay. A friend and I both have purchased a Giant Anthem X off of ebay for less than 1,500 and this was last year. It has 4 inches of travel front and back, maestro suspension, full xt (xtshifters, xt hydro brakes, xt crank, fox fork, etc.). I think you won't be able to beat a lightly used bike off of craigslist or ebay. I would look for a trance or anthem. I am unfamiliar with other bikes, but any big name with a proven geometry that would fit you should be fine.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    So I may have figured out what I'm going to do. Just went to a Giant/Raleigh bike shop run by an old fart old / school guy. They have an 18" 2008 Raleigh Mojave 8.0 for sale for $500, brand new. Its been sitting there for about 5 years, gathering dust, and no one seems to want it. A few months ago, they sold the same bike to my ex-girlfriend for $625 and she really likes it. What I might do is buy the bike, strip the parts, and put them on a full suspension frame. I'm leaning toward the Sette Derro frame, which I can pick up for $500 at pricepoint. So, that would be a $1000 for a brand new bike, with decent specs, at least by today's standards. Check out the specs from the Raleigh:

    Does anyone think I can beat the price specs for the price? My guess is I'd be able to get at least $100 out of the Raleigh frame, so that pretty much makes the shipping on the Derro frame free...or whatever frame I decide to get.
    I'd assumed that you've tried this Raleigh already, have you tried the Derro? If not try to see if you can check one out. It's a tough decision to make for you because you have not tried them yet. I own several FS bikes, including Trance (1st gen but ridden them all) and I can say without a doubt Giant is the best buy for your budget. May be you can check out some used one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    I'd assumed that you've tried this Raleigh already, have you tried the Derro? If not try to see if you can check one out. It's a tough decision to make for you because you have not tried them yet. I own several FS bikes, including Trance (1st gen but ridden them all) and I can say without a doubt Giant is the best buy for your budget. May be you can check out some used one.
    I've tried her Raleigh. Its a 20" though, but everything on it works really well. The frame they have for sale would fit me (an 18") but I want a FS. Haven't tried the Derro but I've read really good things here on mtbr.com about it:

    Derro 2.0?

    Derro Builds

    Sette Derro 2.0 XC Full Suspension Reviews

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    I've tried her Raleigh. Its a 20" though, but everything on it works really well. The frame they have for sale would fit me (an 18") but I want a FS. Haven't tried the Derro but I've read really good things here on mtbr.com about it:
    You really have your heart set on that Derro hah, well if you feel it has your name on it by all mean get it, it'd make you ride it more. I'd strongly suggest that you test ride it first. I think it's a lateral move from the Raleigh not really an upgrade.

    One side note about the review. It's not my intention to make this a snobbish remark but Derro is at best a 2nd tier FS design. Many people start with that and move on to better designs of their choice. Take the review with a grain of salt. If you want more prove of what I'm talking about check out the reviews on bike direct full suspension bikes. Take your time this is the best time to buy.






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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    You really have your heart set on that Derro hah, well if you feel it has your name on it by all mean get it, it'd make you ride it more. I'd strongly suggest that you test ride it first. I think it's a lateral move from the Raleigh not really an upgrade.

    One side note about the review. It's not my intention to make this a snobbish remark but Derro is at best a 2nd tier FS design. Many people start with that and move on to better designs of their choice. Take the review with a grain of salt. If you want more prove of what I'm talking about check out the reviews on bike direct full suspension bikes. Take your time this is the best time to buy.
    You snob!

    I'm not really dead set on anything as of yet. I'm looking at another option on eBay right now for a frame, but we will see about that. I do think the Raleigh has some nice specs for the price...its a bummer that its not a FS. I know what you mean about having your judgement "clouded" after you buy a bike, though. Just curious - why is the Derro design a second tier? How would you rate the Derro to the frame on the low end Yukon frame? Why is the Sette Better or worse? If the Derro is a second tier design, does that make the similar Jamis frame also a second tier design?

  22. #22
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    Mimi is spot on, the Giant Trance is the best bike out of any mentioned on this page for the money and price your looking at.
    The Raleigh would be a very very poor option imo, i would steer well clear of it, its not half the bike as the Trance.
    Dont cheap out thinking your saving money, 1500bucks is almost cheaping out for a decent full suss, spending the 800 bucks on a HT Raleigh you will be buying a toy in comparison to the Trance.
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    2 suggestions if you'll entertain me. First, make a wise decision the first time around. Like Mimi, I've purchased a few frames that I thought were great deals and turned out to be mistakes. For example, a Salsa El Kaboing. Who'd a thought a Salsa could be bad, right??? Don't let a few hundred bucks come between you getting a great bike and you getting an OK bike that you might need to sell or needlessly dump a few hundred in down the road to make it right.

    second piece of advice, look at Titus FTM complete builds/build kits on their web site or at On One. You can then PM Bikerbob on this forum. You could be a small or a medium at your height so think about if you are comfortable buying a bike you cannot test ride. You should be able to find someone locally that can let you test ride their Motolite of FTM which would easily give you a good idea of what size you'd prefer.

    Last, I know I said 2, strongly consider the Trance. I'm still confused on how Giant can spec their bikes the way they do for those prices. They're great deals.

  24. #24
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    You want the best bike you can get for slightly over $1500? Its a 2011, but I havent seen a better deal on a bike anywhere.

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  25. #25
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    ^^^^^^^^^^ sorry mullen119, dont agree in the slightest.....
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....

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