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  1. #1
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    Upgrade 26" HT, buy new FS or buy used 29er?

    Hi, all.

    Brand new to the forum as a member but been reading it for a long time. Excellent info!

    Gotta question that's been nagging at me for a few weeks now.

    I have a 1998 Raleigh M-80 aluminum hardtail (crank set, chain and cassette new last year, rest is stock) that I like well enough.

    Lately, though, been feeling a need to "improve the ride," with 3 options being the most obvious:

    1. Upgrade the M-80 with a fork (maybe the RockShox Recon TK Coil the LBS is trying to sell me) and possibly a wheelset. Together, they ought to run me close to $500.

    2. Buy a new full suspension, possibly a 2009 KHS XCT 525 at another LBS for $800 + tax.

    3. Buy a lightly used 2006 GF X-Caliber 29er hardtail for $750 flat.

    Now, my M-80 is the only mountain bike I've ever ridden, so I have no idea whether a FS 26er or a HT 29er will offer a more noticeable improvement.

    FYI, about 3/4 of my riding is on the road (commuting) and 1/4 off-road (fire roads and single track on the weekends).

    I'd appreciate any opinions from the experts!

  2. #2
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    The first decision I would make is if you continue to use the Raleigh as your commuter when you buy the other bike. I'm guessing by the way you are describing the bike it has a rigid fork. It sounds like it would still work well on pavement as a daily commuter so there is no reason to stop using it.

    If that's the case then you can focus on a bike for the trails. Go to your LBS and start trying different things. I would let them know what you are looking to do and see what direction they lead you. Don't feel any pressure to buy. It's research time and what you need is time on FS or 29ers or anything else that you are considering.

    I went through something similar recently. My 26" hardtail has been my do it all bike for roads and trails. I did my research online and thought that a flat bar style hybrid with a carbon fork would be perfect for the roads and I would still use the 26" on the trails. Once I tried that flat bar hybrid I knew instantly it wasn't for me. I tried entry level road bikes and cyclocross bikes but couldn't get comfortable. Since I was looking at everything I figured why not and decided to try a 29er. That was it. I found my new commuter bike plus I also have a second trail bike.

    Take your time and ride everything. That way you'll begin to narrow your list and find out what works for you.
    Last edited by GOTA; 05-26-2011 at 06:10 AM.
    He who dares....wins!

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply.

    I never considered keeping two bikes, one for commuting and one for trail use. That could work...

    The Raleigh, by the way, is not a rigid fork. It has a RS Judy S, which probably has an inch of travel. Good for the street and very light trail use, but shows its weaknesses beyond that.

    Regarding spending time at a LBS...I will probably have to do that. I just don't want to join the ranks of the people who stay there for hours, pumping the employees for info, then buy off eBay or decide not to do anything at all.

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
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    I hear you. As long as you keep an open mind about possibly buying from the LBS I wouldn't feel guilty. You never know what kinds of deals they are willing to make. I ended up buying my 29er for MSRP but I really don't have a problem with that since it's exactly what I wanted.
    He who dares....wins!

  5. #5
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    Thanks again.

    I decided to keep the old hardtail for commuting and get a new FS for weekend use.

    So many great choices out there.

  6. #6
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    I would highly suggest NOT buying that FS. For a decent FS, you need to spend at least $1,500 or more. You will be plagued with subpar components, highly unefficient suspension system, pedal bob, and other characteristics of a crappy bike. Do yourself a favor any either fix up your bike or get that Gary Fisher x cal.

  7. #7
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    p nut,

    Good advice.

    However, after reading a lot on paper and online, I've decided to up my budget.

    Now looking at either a KHS XC-604 ($1700) or a Santa Cruz Superlight ($1900).

    I assume both of them are mid-range enough to not be "crappy bikes." Would you agree?

  8. #8
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    I would say thats a good choice for a fs just ride both and see what feels best. I am a firm believer in getting the best bike you can afford. Are you set on purchasing from a shop if not I have some good links for you.

    I think its a great decision to have 2 bikes a ht and a fs. Its good to have a ht when you want to go cruising and good to have a fs when you want to go out thrashing. I would also recommend getting a bike with 120 to 140mm of travel so you can jump it if you want. And I would still upgrade the ht so you can have a good trail bike. Another thing when I go out with friends who ride light hard tails its hard to keep up with them on my FS in short it sucks. By the same token when we go out on the fs bikes we take different routs and its not as much fun on a xc ht.

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