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  1. #1
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    Help pick between CDale/Giant/Marin

    I'm looking to get back into riding (nothing crazy, just trails) and have gone to a LBS twice, still undecided after also researching here for a few weeks. I'm looking for a HT, won't be upgrading anything for some time. Budget is $800 but I can go higher if it makes sense to (I guess max is 1k). Can't test ride these bikes to decide as they don't have the models in stock. So I would have to pick something first so they can order and let me test ride it. The LBS is mostly a Marin, Giant, and Fuji shop. They don't work with Specialized and don't stock Cannondale, GF, etc.

    These are the options the LBS recommended:

    Marin Palisades Trail 2009
    Price: Around $1000
    Pros: Avid Juicy 3 brakes
    Cons: Marzocchi 22LO Fork, Price

    Giant XTC 1 2010
    Price: $990
    Cons: Price
    Don't know the exact specs, I think it's the same fork and brakes as the Marin.

    Giant XTC 2 2010
    Price: $800
    Cons: Hayes MX4 brakes

    I wanted the Cannondale F5 2009 based on my research, but they can only get the 2010.

    Cannondale F5 2010
    Price: $750
    Cons: RST Deuce 1.5 Fork??? 1.5" headtube, Unknown specs
    Pros: Price (good discount over retail for new model)

    I might be able to get them to order/build a Specialized so these are also possible options

    Specialized RH Comp Disc 2009
    Price: Around $750
    Cons: 8 speed rear derailleur
    Pro: Good frame, BB5, Price

    Specialized RH Expert Disc 2009
    Price: Around $1000
    Cons: Price, Tekro brakes?
    Pros: Good frame, Tora SLite fork

    I've been wrecking my brain over this for a while now. Any suggestions, info, or help is really appreciated. I'm going to give them a call tomorrow to order something.
    Last edited by venomxtf; 08-16-2009 at 03:55 PM.

  2. #2
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    I would base my decision primarily on which bike had the best fit and feel in a ride around the parking lot. I like the Giant XTC but the differences between the bikes arent all that great. A decent discount off any of the bikes would be enough to swing the deal if the fit was good.

  3. #3
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    Dealer doesn't have the bikes on the floor and buyer has to order to demo bike. What happens if you don't like the ordered bike, can you just walk away? Are you limited to just this dealer?

    Different brands ride and fit differently so it's always good to demo first, just what borregokid said, but it seems this is not possible in your case. Go to the manufacturer's website and try to find their dealers near you even if you have to travel.

    If you like the Cannondales, at least get the Caffeine series. Try to find 2009 models as the 2010 are coming, dealers are motivated to give discounts if you find them on the floors.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for your help guys. I'd like to ride all the bikes in question, but I don't know if that would be possible. I work until 7pm, so most places are already closed by the time I get out of work. I'm going to try and leave early today to go over to a Specialized dealer not too far from my office and see what I can test ride there.

    After some thinking, I want to go with mechanical brakes (upgrade to BB7s later on) over hydraulic brakes. This way I won't need to drain the fluid and will be easier for me to work on them myself. So the options are:

    Giant XTC2 2010
    $800

    Giantc XTC2 2009
    <$800 will check today what kind of closeout price I can get

    Specialized RH Comp Disc either 2010 or 2009
    <$800 will check with the Spec dealer

    XTC is 27 speed with Hayes MX4, RH Disc is 24 speed with BB5s. Never thought choosing a bike would be such a difficult thing. I think the RH for 2010 has last years Stumpjumper frame, which from what I know is much better than the XTC? Even the 2009 RH frame is better from what I read?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by venomxtf
    Thanks for your help guys. I'd like to ride all the bikes in question, but I don't know if that would be possible. I work until 7pm, so most places are already closed by the time I get out of work. I'm going to try and leave early today to go over to a Specialized dealer not too far from my office and see what I can test ride there.
    Better to wait until you can spend the time up front. It is nothing compared to the time you'll spend remediating a hastily made poor decision. Call the shop to see if theyu might be able to make an appointment for you at a time that works for both of you.

    Quote Originally Posted by venomxtf
    After some thinking, I want to go with mechanical brakes (upgrade to BB7s later on) over hydraulic brakes. This way I won't need to drain the fluid and will be easier for me to work on them myself.
    Quote Originally Posted by venomxtf
    XTC is 27 speed with Hayes MX4, RH Disc is 24 speed with BB5s.
    If the bike you otherwise like has the BB5's, give them a chance. The added adjuster on the BB7 is nice, but it's not tragically difficulty to use a feeler gauge as a spacer on the non-adjuster side of the BB5's to adjust them. BB7's are better, but the BB5's work fine on a bike of the level you are buying. The Hayes MX2 has a decent reputation. Don't know much about the MX4 though.

    Quote Originally Posted by venomxtf
    Never thought choosing a bike would be such a difficult thing. I think the RH for 2010 has last years Stumpjumper frame, which from what I know is much better than the XTC? Even the 2009 RH frame is better from what I read?
    I'd like to know how the SJ frame is supposedly "better" than the XTC frame? Ride them for yourself and get the one that you feel best on.

    Best to take a bit of time to check out the bikes you want. It's also important to find out the type of service/support you get from a dealer post-sale in case you have issues or just need some assistance. Some will promise all kinds of support and then it suddenly becomes difficult and/or expensive once they have your money. Others will go out of their way to make sure you are happy and this can be worth considering when it's time to make a purchase.

    One last thing: The fork is an area that is scrimped on with new bikes. It's probably worth it to pay a little extra to get a fork with a Tora over one with a Suntour fork or even a Rock Shox Dart. There is quite a difference in performance there.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj
    Better to wait until you can spend the time up front. It is nothing compared to the time you'll spend remediating a hastily made poor decision. Call the shop to see if theyu might be able to make an appointment for you at a time that works for both of you.
    Thanks for your reply Jeff. I completely understand, and will try to do just that. I just don't have much free time as I'm working both full time and starting a company. 12+ hour days, 7 days a week.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj
    If the bike you otherwise like has the BB5's, give them a chance. The added adjuster on the BB7 is nice, but it's not tragically difficulty to use a feeler gauge as a spacer on the non-adjuster side of the BB5's to adjust them. BB7's are better, but the BB5's work fine on a bike of the level you are buying. The Hayes MX2 has a decent reputation. Don't know much about the MX4 though.
    I don't plan on upgrading the brakes to BB7 until the originals are worn out. I'm more concerned about the MX4s being decent quality. I know BB5s are fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj
    I'd like to know how the SJ frame is supposedly "better" than the XTC frame? Ride them for yourself and get the one that you feel best on.
    Weights, quality, durability? I'm not an expert, just read good things about the Spec frames, that's why I wanted to post to get some views.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj
    Best to take a bit of time to check out the bikes you want. It's also important to find out the type of service/support you get from a dealer post-sale in case you have issues or just need some assistance. Some will promise all kinds of support and then it suddenly becomes difficult and/or expensive once they have your money. Others will go out of their way to make sure you are happy and this can be worth considering when it's time to make a purchase.
    Both dealers have pretty good reputations. I know the Giant/Marin dealer offers 1 year tuneups, I know several people who have recommended that shop. I'll check about the Spec dealer today. I'd like to learn how to do most of the tuneup/fixes myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj
    One last thing: The fork is an area that is scrimped on with new bikes. It's probably worth it to pay a little extra to get a fork with a Tora over one with a Suntour fork or even a Rock Shox Dart. There is quite a difference in performance there.
    The RH Expert has the Tora SLite fork. Is the $300 price over the Comp worth it? If I have to upgrade the Dart 3 in a year, then it would make more sense to just get the better fork (and other parts) from the start. The only thing then is I have to deal with hydraulic brakes.

    I know it's a lot of questions, thanks again for your help though.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by venomxtf

    The RH Expert has the Tora SLite fork. Is the $300 price over the Comp worth it? If I have to upgrade the Dart 3 in a year, then it would make more sense to just get the better fork (and other parts) from the start. The only thing then is I have to deal with hydraulic brakes.

    I know it's a lot of questions, thanks again for your help though.
    The differences are the Tora Slite has alloy steerer and magnesium lowers but still has coil springs just like the Dart. Coil springs add weight but mainly, if you like stiffer/softer ride you have to change the coil springs not like air sprung forks where you just increase or decrease air pressure.

    If you are going past the $1100 mark, try to find one with air spring forks. Only one I can think of is the Cannondale Caffeine with the Ultra Fatty fork. Frame and fork are one of the lightest at this price, but concerns are you need cannondale to have the fork serviced. If you can find a good after sale service dealer this shouldn't be much of a concern.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by older guy
    The differences are the Tora Slite has alloy steerer and magnesium lowers but still has coil springs just like the Dart. Coil springs add weight but mainly, if you like stiffer/softer ride you have to change the coil springs not like air sprung forks where you just increase or decrease air pressure.

    If you are going past the $1100 mark, try to find one with air spring forks. Only one I can think of is the Cannondale Caffeine with the Ultra Fatty fork. Frame and fork are one of the lightest at this price, but concerns are you need cannondale to have the fork serviced. If you can find a good after sale service dealer this shouldn't be much of a concern.
    That's what I thought older guy, thanks for the info. I think I'll get something for 700-800 and upgrade to an air fork down the road.

    I just called the Spec dealer. They don't have any of the hardtails at the store (apparently they don't sell fast enough so they mostly stock FS), so I can't test ride the RH Comp either... and they "might" have an Cdale F3. Maybe it's a NYC thing, but no one has anything I want to test ride in stock, such a pain in the butt.

  9. #9
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    Personally, I was set on the Cdale F5 but ran into production changeover to 2010 and no "Large" 2009 in the supply pipeline. Went through the similar decision making with the XCT2 (and Gary Fisher Marlin Disc) my choices at the F5 pricepoint. Looked at Specialized and Marin, but tended to downgrade the drivetrain at the same pricepoint so they became last consideration even though I do like the Marin dealer. Then I stumbled on the new 2008 Jamis Dakota Sport that blew them away on specs and priced at $699 at Jenson, Specs - Tora 302, Deore/XT drivetrain, Shimano hydraulic (OK would have preferred the mechanical BB7).

    Got it a month ago and really like it. No regret over going mailorder as local Jamis dealer didn't have any hardtail model in a 19" frame, just 17", but "could order one in." Also, I go to the LBS and purchase higher profit items like clothing, shoes, helmet etc.

  10. #10
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    Test rode a few Giant and Marlin bikes (I've rented Hardrock before for some trail riding). I ended up getting a new Giant XTC2 tonight for $625 after a nice discount. With the money saved I can upgrade the fork (Tora Solo Air) and brakes (BB7) down the road. Other parts I don't plan on changing until they break (unless there's anything you guys recommend upgrading before that happens) and stock tires are actually pretty good (Kenda Small Block 8).

    Went for a couple mile ride on the boardwalk tonight, felt awesome. Can't wait to take it out on some trails. Thanks everyone for your help.

    Full specs for the XTC2 for anyone interested.

    SIZE Large 20"
    COLOR Silver/Brushed
    FRAME ALUXX SL-Grade Aluminum
    FORK RockShox Dart 3, 100mm w/ lockout
    SHIFTERS SRAM X5, trigger
    FRONT DERAILLEUR Shimano Deore
    REAR DERAILLEUR SRAM X5
    BRAKES Hayes MX-4 Disc, 160F/160R
    BRAKE LEVERS Tektro Alloy, 2-Finger
    CASSETTE Shimano HG50 11/34, 9-speed
    CHAIN Shimano HG-73
    CRANKS TruVativ ISO Flow 3.0, 22/32/42
    BB TruVativ Powerspline
    RIMS Mavic XM 117 Disc
    HUBS Formula 32H Disc
    SPOKES Stainless steel
    TIRES Kenda Small Block Eight, 26x2.1/1.95
    HANDLEBAR Alloy low rise
    STEM Alloy, 10 Degree rise
    SEATPOST Alloy 350x30.9mm
    SADDLE WTB Speed-V
    PEDALS Alloy Platform

  11. #11
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    You got a super deal. The brake levers might be worth upgrading to either LX or XT if you found a decent price. When it comes time to upgrade you might take a look at the Avid Elixirs that would put some nice bling on the bike. Most of the stuff you can wait till it wears out.

  12. #12
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    Like borregokid said, you got an awesome deal and an awesome bike. Enjoy.
    2009 Giant Yukon

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