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  1. #1
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    Best MTB value? (Need advice on first Mountain Bike)

    First off, thanks for taking the time to read my first post.

    I stared looking for a Mountain Bike at local LBS.

    I decided I wanted the cheapest brand name mountain bike with discs. So I started looking at the Giant Rincon ($469+tax=$511).

    After talking with some experienced local riders, they recommend trying to upgrade to a Yukon ($599+tax=$652), because upgrading the parts afterwards will cost alot more than buying a packaged bike with the components.

    I then decided I also want a bike with a lock out front shock.

    At this point I started looking at other options due to the price,because I really didn't want to spend more than $600 for a bike

    Namely:
    2010 Motobecane 700HT ($499 no tax, shipped)
    2010 Motobecane Fantom Trail Mountain Bike ($599 no tax,shipped)
    2010 Forge Sawback 5xx ($342+tax=$372) + Front fork upgrade ~$200

    I'm looking to get the best value for my dollar, and would prefer to spend as little as possible, knowing that spending money on upgrades down the road isn't really saving me money.

    Thoughts on my choices? Price performance ratio? Suggestions?

    I searched the forums for info on the Motobecane's, in particular the 700HT, but most threads are discussing the big names Trek/Gary Fisher/Spec/Giant/Etc.

    It also seems like professional reviews of MTB's on the net are hard to come by. Any pointers on where to look for MTB shoot out reviews would be apprecaited.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to read my first post. I appreciate your feedback.
    Last edited by Caseten; 03-21-2010 at 11:38 PM. Reason: Title didn't clearly sum up my question.

  2. #2
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    1) Your budget. How much do you have to spend on the bicycle (not including accessories such as helmet, gloves and other accessories).
    C - $350-$600, looking for best value. A $350ish bike would allow for a front fork, or other upgrade.
    2) What bikes, if any, are you already considering? (Please try to limit the selection to a handful if at all possible, and provide links to those bikes. Remember, we don't always know the exact specs of all the bikes out there!)
    C - Giant Rincon to Yukon class bike.
    3) What type of riding do you intend to do? (e.g. Cross Country, Freeride, Downhill, paved paths)
    C - Cross Country, Trail rides
    4) Do you have a preference over a hardtail or full suspension?
    C - Hard tail of course
    5) Age, weight and height. (In many instances very important for a variety of reasons).
    38, 200lbs, 5'8"
    6) What sources will you consider buying from? (e.g. Your Local Bike Shop, online vendors, or used bike sources such as mtbr classifieds, craigslist, ebay and others)
    Any source that provides the best value package.
    7) Do you want people to offer you alternative suggestions to issues such as budget, bikes already considered, and sources?
    C - Looking for the best value for the money within the given price range. A bike that will not require many component upgrades in the future.

  3. #3
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    check out the specialized hardrock's. i had one before it was stolen and it was a solid bike, and you can beat the hell out of it.

  4. #4
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    Moto Fantom is the way I would go personally. Try this fit calc to try and get the perfect size. http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...LCULATOR_INTRO
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  5. #5
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    Dremer03, Thanks for the fit calc. I hadn't seen that one. Much appreciated.

    bwheelin, wouldn't the Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc, be more comparable to the Motobecane Fantom Trail or 700HT?

    Are there any good spreadsheets or websites that break down the actual cost of components between two bikes? If not, I guess I should do that for the Motobecane Fantom Trail, Giant Yukon and Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc (or Hardrock).

    Thanks again for your feedback!

  6. #6
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    Caseten, I also try to get the most value for my money in everything I buy. But one thing I found with bikes that you can't put a $ amount on is fit and feel. It is that intangible difference between getting off your bike and being happy and can't wait to ride again, vs being less comfortable and not wanting to ride as much. Online retailers offer great value, but you can't test ride the bikes before you buy. I'm not putting down Motobecane or any other online bikes (most are good bikes and there are many satisfied owners on these forums), but if you don't know what geometry fits you best, you might not get the best bike for you.

    I ended up spending an extra $100 when I bought my bike because I chose the one that felt the best; it might not have been the very best value and it was more that I originally wanted to spend, but I'm really happy with the choice I made. (Extra money doesn't always mean better fit/feel)

    Almost every bike will have different geometry, saddle, grips, etc. Half an inch more here, a few mm less there, slightly different angle, all of these will change the riding experience. The key is to find what feels best to YOU. Components and value are important, but IMO fit and feel are the most important things. Good Luck!

  7. #7
    AZ
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    /\ X eleventy billion , ride as many bikes as you can , there can be subtle differences that truly affect the fit and feel . If a bike dosent fit right you likely wont ride it much .

  8. #8
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    I respect the "ride as many as you can" comments.

    On the other hand, the bikes I ride at the bike stores haven't been sized or adjusted/tuned to me. So riding them is still a bit deceptive. I would think that with enough care any bike that was the right size and has the correct geometry for me could be adjusted to fit.

    AZ.MTNS, what do you think of the fit calculator Dremer03 provided?

  9. #9
    AZ
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    I prefer Sheldon Brown , easy to understand , tells you why it fits ,
    www.sheldonbrown.com/ frame-sizing.html -

  10. #10
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    Be patient and wait until you can spend between 6 and 8 hundred and get a bike with a Tora fork and some good brakes. A coupla months saving money will make a lot of difference in the long run.
    roccowt.
    rocnbikemeld

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by zarr
    Be patient and wait until you can spend between 6 and 8 hundred and get a bike with a Tora fork and some good brakes. A coupla months saving money will make a lot of difference in the long run.
    Which model of Tora and what do you consider good (enough) brakes?

    The Motobecane 2010 Fantom Comp Mountain Bike is $795:
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...tom_comp08.htm

    And comes with:
    Rock Shox Tora 302 Coil U-Turn Fork

    I could upgrade this at a later date for ~$200 from:
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...Turn+Fork.aspx

    But right now that's $200 more than I'd rather spend at the moment.

    Which bikes do you recommend that come with the Tora? Just curious.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caseten
    I respect the "ride as many as you can" comments.

    On the other hand, the bikes I ride at the bike stores haven't been sized or adjusted/tuned to me. So riding them is still a bit deceptive. I would think that with enough care any bike that was the right size and has the correct geometry for me could be adjusted to fit.
    The geometry of almost every bike is different. ETT (Effective Top Tube) length is the most critical IMO because it is the horizontal distance from the headtube to the seattube (aka the cockpit). At 5'8", nearly every bike manufacturer on the planet makes a bike that will fit you, but because of differing geometry, and your body and riding style, some will be more comfortable to you than others. Below is an example of the ETT of different bikes mentioned in this thread (medium/17" frames, except as noted)

    Effective Top Tube
    Motobecane 700HT = 22.3
    Motobecane Fantom Trail = 22.5
    Specialized HardRock = 23.0
    Specialized RockHopper = 23.2
    Giant Rincon (16" frame) = 22.4 / (18" frame) = 22.8

    If you're going to buy a bike online, try to find one at a LBS with similar geometry to ride first.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caseten
    Which model of Tora and what do you consider good (enough) brakes?

    The Motobecane 2010 Fantom Comp Mountain Bike is $795:
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...tom_comp08.htm

    And comes with:
    Rock Shox Tora 302 Coil U-Turn Fork

    I could upgrade this at a later date for ~$200 from:
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...Turn+Fork.aspx

    But right now that's $200 more than I'd rather spend at the moment.

    Which bikes do you recommend that come with the Tora? Just curious.
    Well, the model 318 is considered to be the best one. I wouldn't buy a hardtail with anything below that fork with what I have learned about bikes at this point.If you have $600, wait 'til you have 8. And get a much better bike. hey guys- anybody disagree?
    roccowt.
    rocnbikemeld

  14. #14
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    AZ.MTNS thanks again for the suggestion: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-sizing.html

    Should keep me plenty busy tonight.

  15. #15
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    did you consider getting a 29er?
    roccowt.
    rocnbikemeld

  16. #16
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    MaKn, thanks for your contribution. Sounds like I should be able to make almost any model fit, as long as I pay close attention to the size, and buy some parts / make adjustments to get the fit just right.

    So back to my original question. Which bike do you think provides the best value, dollar for dollar for what I'm looking at: ~$600.

    I will compare what fits best at the local LBS vs online + budget for stem + seat post to get the same posture as what I prefer at the LBS then make a decision on whether to buy local or online.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caseten
    MaKn, thanks for your contribution. Sounds like I should be able to make almost any model fit, as long as I pay close attention to the size, and buy some parts / make adjustments to get the fit just right.

    So back to my original question. Which bike do you think provides the best value, dollar for dollar for what I'm looking at: ~$600.

    I will compare what fits best at the local LBS vs online + budget for stem + seat post to get the same posture as what I prefer at the LBS then make a decision on whether to buy local or online.
    Remember the Tora fork is a step above a Dart. There is a thread in the 29er forum about the Diamondback Overdrive $450 if you're interested. It has a Dart fork, but at $450 a new fork later on (ebay say would be OK)
    roccowt.
    rocnbikemeld

  18. #18
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    ...and remember that most low priced bikes come with cheap, unsafe nylon pedals. Replace them right away with clipless,or aluminum or magnesium body platform pedals. Get ones with sealed bearings if you can afford them. And wear a helmet and gloves.---zarr out.
    roccowt.
    rocnbikemeld

  19. #19
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    Caseten, don't get over obsessed with value or which bike is the best deal. I've been there and done that. The thing I've learned is that it isn't about what you ride, but having fun and enjoying the ride. Do your homework, look at all the options, try and get the most for your $$$, but also realize that components and geometry aren't the only things that contribute to ride & performance. Frame technology, butting, weight and balance also play a big part in how a bike FEELS. My point is try and find a great deal, but don't overlook how a bike feels when you're riding it when making a decision to purchase.

    Yes, a stem can help a bike fit you. Half an inch (or inch) more or less reach can make a big difference in comfort on a long ride. The LBS where I bought my Trek even put a shorter stem with a little more angle on for me at no cost.

  20. #20
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    You might also consider buying a used bike. Sometimes you can find super deals on CraigsList or eBay. It takes time (sometimes a lot of time), patience, and luck, but you might be able to find a 2 - 4 year old hardtail in almost new condition for less than half of the original msrp. Check craigslist regularly and research stuff on bikepedia.com and mtbr reviews. It can take months to find a killer deal on a bike that is right for you, but it can be worth it.

  21. #21
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    MaKn, thanks again for the advice.

    Unfortunately, I'm a project manager and and engineer, so it will take me a few spreadsheets to get the "value" bug out of my system, and I'll over analyze. But in the end, I'll learn alot.

  22. #22
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    Get a GT Avalanche 3.0 Disc. It comes with a Suntour fork - obviously not the best, but it has adjustable compression and can lock out too. I have an Avalanche 3.0 and have since upgraded the brakes to BB7's and a Tora 318 fork, not because it was absolutely needed, but because I wanted to. The stock 3.0 will be fine for a beginner mtn bike under $500.

    http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...0_20000_400308

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caseten
    Unfortunately, I'm a project manager and and engineer, so it will take me a few spreadsheets to get the "value" bug out of my system, and I'll over analyze. But in the end, I'll learn alot.
    You don't have to get the value bug out of your system, just be sure to consider everything, not just price and components.

    There's nothing wrong with spreadsheets!

  24. #24
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    also consider the Motos 29pro it's the same price as the Fantom Comp but with Tora 318 instead of the tora 302.
    2000 something DB Sorrento
    2010 Motobecane 29Pro SL

  25. #25
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    bRyAZSig228, thanks for the suggestion, but I think I will stick to a traditional MTB. This will be my first real bike in quite some time. I'm looking for a high value bike, because I expect there will be some money spent tweaking it to fit right... stem, post, saddle, etc. That's why I want to make sure I get plenty of value out of the parts I plan not to change. A traditional MTB will allow for more flexibility in upgrades, should I need to upgrade components.

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