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  1. #1
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    Another n00b looking for help buying

    I just moved into an area that is heavily populated by woods, trails, mountains, etc. (I live in Maine.) I rode a lot as a kid and would like to get back into it as a means of excercise and just plain fun. I do a fair amount of white water kayaking and love to be a thrill seeker so I assume my riding style would be the same. That being said, I'm a big guy, sooooo....my options seem limited.

    Since I can't exactly test any of these (I've been calling around) I'm sort of stuck with a blind buy. Any advice would be appreciated. I've been trying to look for something with good components including breaks and an air fork. I'm also looking for a 29'er because it seems like the smooth ride might be more up my ally.

    I am 6 feet tall and weigh in at a rugged 300lbs. This is without any gear.

    My current options. All appear to be pretty solid bikes.


    Kona Kahuna Deluxe

    Cannondale 29er Flash Alloy 3

    Giant XTC 29er 2

  2. #2
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    What are you looking to spend?

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    I should also add, I am a bit concerned about not having full suspension since I might want to do some more bumpy terrain. Thoughts?

  4. #4
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    Ideally, I'd like to be under 2k. But I realize if I go full suspension I will have to jump over that price.

  5. #5
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    The Recon Gold with a 20mm front axle and Speed Disc AM rims looks pretty solid on the Kona, the hubs being the possible question mark (which any bike in this price would be). The Giant also looks pretty solid. I would skip the 'Dale...QR front fork, skinny seat post, lighter weight rims.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72 View Post
    The Recon Gold with a 20mm front axle and Speed Disc AM rims looks pretty solid on the Kona, the hubs being the possible question mark (which any bike in this price would be). The Giant also looks pretty solid. I would skip the 'Dale...QR front fork, skinny seat post, lighter weight rims.
    I thought the Canondale had the same fork as the Kona?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquayonex View Post
    I should also add, I am a bit concerned about not having full suspension since I might want to do some more bumpy terrain. Thoughts?
    If you want full suspension, Check out Santa Cruz's Heckler R AM kit for $2399, basic single pivot design, low leverage ratio. SLX/XT drivetrain which would be solid for you. I have a Trek Scratch Air 9 which works great for me @ 325lbs. It's tough to find a FS bike with a good parts spec for $2k that will work for a big clyde. $3-4K has a lot more options but more than you want to spend.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquayonex View Post
    I thought the Canondale had the same fork as the Kona?
    The Kona has a 20mm thru axle, the 'Dale has a 9mm quick release. It will be quite a difference in fork stiffness between the two.

  9. #9
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    I have to agree with mtnbiker72, I would highly recommend something with AT LEAST a 15mm thru axle. Im over 200 and I can feel a difference (I run a 20mm) and it is only amplified more by the fact that you want a 29er. I would say that if your budget tops out at $2k then stick to the hard tail arena. Better to have decent components and a good frame than to have crap components on an entry frame. I hate to say it but if you can buy used from someone who clearly has shown respect for the bike then you can walk away with a very nice bike and stay within your budget. Just don't be in a rush and wait for the right one.

  10. #10
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    Cool. So it sounds like the Kona might be the way to go. It seems like every time I turn around this is a new brand of bike I haven't heard of... The Fuji Tahoe 1 looks like a nice ride. Fuji Bikes | MOUNTAIN SERIES | 29ER HARDTAIL | TAHOE 29 1.0

    mtnbiker72, where did you see the 9mm quick release? To me, it looks like the same description. I mean, how would one know?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquayonex View Post
    mtnbiker72, where did you see the 9mm quick release? To me, it looks like the same description. I mean, how would one know?
    The Kona specifically specifies a 20mm axle, the 'Dale does not. If it is not specified then it is going to be a 9mm QR.

    Besides, if you zoom in on the 'Dale you can see the end of the quick release.

  12. #12
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    Well I've been calling around for a few days now. Researching, etc etc. Originally I had my heart set on a nice 29er but one of the local stores has a new 20 inch, 2009 Kona Hoss and they're convinced it's the perfect bike to get a super-clyde like myself going. They're looking for around $900 for it.

    Anyone have any thoughts on this?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquayonex View Post
    Well I've been calling around for a few days now. Researching, etc etc. Originally I had my heart set on a nice 29er but one of the local stores has a new 20 inch, 2009 Kona Hoss and they're convinced it's the perfect bike to get a super-clyde like myself going. They're looking for around $900 for it.

    Anyone have any thoughts on this?
    I have a 09 Kona Hoss which I purchased in January 2010 for $749 from my LBS. $900 seems pretty steep for an 09' model. Very sturdy bike, cranks are OK at best, you will need to put a larger rotor on the front. I put a 203mm on it, otherwise I couldn't stop when going downhill. On rocky trails you will have more issues than if you were on a 29'er. Fork pogo's when out of the saddle. It's performance on rocky trails is what made me go with full suspension and spend 4 times more than I could have ever imagined I'd spend on a bike. It was worth it for the performance gains. It really depends on what type of trails you ride. If you ride anything technical and you want a hardtail, I would go with a 29'er. It will roll over stuff better.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigJZ74 View Post
    I have a 09 Kona Hoss which I purchased in January 2010 for $749 from my LBS. $900 seems pretty steep for an 09' model. Very sturdy bike, cranks are OK at best, you will need to put a larger rotor on the front. I put a 203mm on it, otherwise I couldn't stop when going downhill. On rocky trails you will have more issues than if you were on a 29'er. Fork pogo's when out of the saddle. It's performance on rocky trails is what made me go with full suspension and spend 4 times more than I could have ever imagined I'd spend on a bike. It was worth it for the performance gains. It really depends on what type of trails you ride. If you ride anything technical and you want a hardtail, I would go with a 29'er. It will roll over stuff better.
    I'd definitely prefer a 29er, but to be honest, I'm very new to the sport and who the hell knows whether or not I will stick with it which is what makes the $900 price appealing. They said they'd give me 10% off on accessories but I don't see that as a real steal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquayonex View Post
    I'd definitely prefer a 29er, but to be honest, I'm very new to the sport and who the hell knows whether or not I will stick with it which is what makes the $900 price appealing. They said they'd give me 10% off on accessories but I don't see that as a real steal.
    It is a great bike for what it is. I put a over 4k miles on it and loved it. I just realized that to ride more difficult trails, I needed more. In the 2 years I had it, I fell in love with Mountain biking again and realized that it would be worth the investment to be able to ride the trails that I wanted too. I spent $4k on my full suspension bike and it was worth every penny. Maybe finding out if you like the sport is a safe way to go. If you do pull the trigger, definitely upgrade the front rotor to a larger one if you do any sort of downhill stuff. Good luck, I am sure you'll have fun with what ever you choose. Just make sure the frame fits, I am 6ft tall like you but have shorter legs, I have an 18 inch frame and its standover height is a little over 30inches. the 20 inch frame has a stand over height of 32". I just thought that should be something you are aware of.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigJZ74 View Post
    It is a great bike for what it is. I put a over 4k miles on it and loved it. I just realized that to ride more difficult trails, I needed more. In the 2 years I had it, I fell in love with Mountain biking again and realized that it would be worth the investment to be able to ride the trails that I wanted too. I spent $4k on my full suspension bike and it was worth every penny. Maybe finding out if you like the sport is a safe way to go. If you do pull the trigger, definitely upgrade the front rotor to a larger one if you do any sort of downhill stuff. Good luck, I am sure you'll have fun with what ever you choose. Just make sure the frame fits, I am 6ft tall like you but have shorter legs, I have an 18 inch frame and its standover height is a little over 30inches. the 20 inch frame has a stand over height of 32". I just thought that should be something you are aware of.
    Standover means literally standing with the bike between your legs, right? Sorry, I'm completely ignorant to the terms. I am exactly 6 feet. Maybe even 5'11" and 3/4s or something like that. When I was talking to a local dealer about a Specialized bike they were all about the 19incher for me. Sounds like 20" may be a bit too big.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquayonex View Post
    Standover means literally standing with the bike between your legs, right? Sorry, I'm completely ignorant to the terms. I am exactly 6 feet. Maybe even 5'11" and 3/4s or something like that. When I was talking to a local dealer about a Specialized bike they were all about the 19incher for me. Sounds like 20" may be a bit too big.
    Basically thats what it means....did you sit on the frame?

    Check out this Breezer 29er.

    Breezer Cloud-9 29er PRO LG Orange
    Last edited by BigJZ74; 02-28-2012 at 01:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigJZ74 View Post
    Basically thats what it means....did you sit on the frame?

    Check out this Breezer 29er.

    Breezer Cloud-9 29er PRO LG Orange
    I did today. Haha, and you were totally right, too tall.

    It appears that if I go Kona I will need a 19inch for a 26er and an 18inch for a 29er. The 18inch was pretty snug but the woman said if I went to a 17inch, the handlebars would be too close to the seat for my size.

    That breezer is definitely a sweet looking bike, but I'm so weary of buying before I (at least) stand over. Especially today. Heh. Would it come assembled?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquayonex View Post
    I did today. Haha, and you were totally right, too tall.

    It appears that if I go Kona I will need a 19inch for a 26er and an 18inch for a 29er. The 18inch was pretty snug but the woman said if I went to a 17inch, the handlebars would be too close to the seat for my size.

    That breezer is definitely a sweet looking bike, but I'm so weary of buying before I (at least) stand over. Especially today. Heh. Would it come assembled?
    Sorry, you'd need a medium, this one is too tall.....

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigJZ74 View Post
    Sorry, you'd need a medium, this one is too tall.....
    damnit. That looked like a sweet bike and a great deal. I was all ready to order that. lol

    Now I want to cry....
    Last edited by Aquayonex; 02-28-2012 at 05:24 PM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquayonex View Post
    damnit. That looked like a sweet bike and a great deal. I was all ready to order that. lol

    Now I want to cry....
    ...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigJZ74 View Post
    ...
    Any other sites around with that kind of deal?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquayonex View Post
    Any other sites around with that kind of deal?
    I'll see if I can find something

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigJZ74 View Post
    I'll see if I can find something
    I've been thinking about the Kona Kahuna Deluxe, or the Specialized Rockhopper. I know the Kona is a slightly better bike, but I really dig the look of the silver rockhopper (stupid I know...) But those are two local shops. The rockhopper is in stock, but the Kona can be ordered and I'm told it will be in and built in about a week.

    I wonder, are there issues with riding these bikes over roads that have been salted? As a general rule, the sale in Maine destroys metal. Big rust.

  25. #25
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    I am the same size as you 6' and right about 300 give or take a couple.

    When I got into the sport about 10 years ago I did not want to spend a bunch of money on the first bike. I spent about $600. I ended up spending about $200 bucks a year for the next couple of years replacing and upgrading various components as needed.

    10 years later I still ride a 26" hartail, but the only parts ont hat bike that have not been upgraded or replaced is the handlebar, stem and shifters. I have over $2500 in the bike, but it was spread out and did not hit the wallet all at once.

    I would recommend buying a bike on a budget that you feel comfortable with right now. You can always upgrade to the FS 29er of your dreams a couple years down the road and you will appreciate that bike more once you understand the advantages it brings to the table. I did eventually buy a FS bike after 6 years of riding the HT. Trek has swapped out two frames over the years for me.

    Think of the kid whose first car is a corvette or something similar. They don't really know how to utilize all of the ability of the car due to their inexperience. Get a reasonable first bike and ride. Once you gain some experience, you will be able to pick out your next upgraded bike based on the type of riding you do.

    Also I do recommend buying a bike with a lifetime warranty on the frame. I am on the third HT frame. Guys our size break stuff. Plan on breaking stuff more often that others your ride with. Plan on upgrading the wheelset and seatpost at some point if you buy a HT. I have never ridden a bike with a through axles, so I can not speak to the benefits, but have had no issues with 9MM QR axles in my primarily XC riding in where I live in SW PA.

    Good Luck

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    Me being a hardtail fanboi and love shattering egos of FS'rs on DH and slopestyle courses, I say spend the money on a hardtail . You will get better components for the price. Def get a good wheelset! at least 32 spoke

  27. #27
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    on the list i'd go with the giant... the fork is supposed to be pretty great for big guys, the frame is plenty strong and the rest of it can be built up with time... i'm your weight and a bit taller and it was a top contender... but I went with an oddball steel frame lol

    anyway it sounds like you learned a little quicker then I did... just because you're tall (i'm 6'4) doesn't necessarily tell you what size frame you need... few years back I assumed I needed a 22" karate monkey... ended up with a 20" and it was PERFECT...

    the fact that you are comfortable on a slightly smaller frame is good... there will be more out there to test out for you
    - Surly Disc trucker
    - '82 trek 560 roadie

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    Thanks for the advice everyone!

    After talking to a fair amount of dealers, I think I'm going to get the Kona. While I know everyone liked the Giant, I honestly found the local Kona dealer to be a lot more helpful than the Giant dealer. In fact, the Giant shop just didn't seem at all interested in helping a fatty find a ride. Plus the Kona shop is giving me 10% off list price which is nice too.

    I expect to place the order very soon.

    Now I need to learn how to maintain, clean, change a flat, and all the other wonderful things that go along with biking.

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    It can ben tough to find a bike shop that will take you seriously when you 6' 300 like us.

    Sounds like you are making the correct choice in dealing with the shop that wants to do business with you.

    Good luck and enjoy your bike when you get it.

  30. #30
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    Dang, I never been to a shop that wasn't helpful, Although I am in the south now and there is a saying about the personality's accompanying the location. Anyways smart choice going with helpful staff, Did they give you a free adjustment deal? My 06 Fuji Tahoe Comp received a free 2 year maintenance (Reality Bikes) and my 11 cannondale CAAD10 received free lifetime adjustments (Bicycle Wheel)

  31. #31
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    yup shop can make a huge difference... that said I doubt i'll ever be in there outside of maybe to let them do a free trueing of my wheels at some point... the rest of it I do (and typically at a competing shop)

    i've run into some shops that weren't interested in me... so I wasn't interested in them...
    - Surly Disc trucker
    - '82 trek 560 roadie

  32. #32
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    Another Noob needing some advice

    Hello,

    My name is Austin and I am currently at 360lbs!!! ( the heaviest I have ever been) I am only 24 but have grown up riding somewhat aggresively a bmx or mountain bike. I have an early 2000's Gary Fisher Mamba and am in the process of getting it in running condition so to begin my weight loss journey.

    Anyway, I know the Mamba won't support the type of riding I eventually want to do and don't have the budget to get a tricked out bike. After reading this forum I have come to the conclusion that Kona's seem like a good buy for the money. As I am severely out of the mountain bike game and don't have an unlimited budget ($500-600) what would some of the other riders on here suggest? I'm obviously not going to jump straight to the downhill although that might make for a funny youtube video and greatly shorten my life span lol but I want a hardtail that can withstand some normal trail riding. Thanks for any and all suggestions.

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    look for a Dirt jumper hardtail, the chromoly steel frame will take abuse and dj forks (suspension) are alot stiffer then xc forks. I used to be 365 in hitghschool. I started riding and I got down to 206 now I'm back at 260 .

  34. #34
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    Live2Cycle87: Thanks for the advice. Are you located in GA? Only reason I ask is I know a reality bikes shop in cumming GA. Have bought bikes there for years. Dude the fact that you are even at 260 is so awesome man, I can only hope to achieve that. What are some dirtjumpers you would recommend?

  35. #35
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    Heck yea Thats my shop. they are rebuilding my bike now. I dropped 2.5k on upgrades I am looking for some people to hit the trails with too. Id talk to the guys at Reality Bikes. It will prolly run you at least 800 new. I'd take a look at craigslist for a used one. but at least go to reality to find your general frame size. I'd say stay with the hardtails though FS is too much maintanance plus sag if you arent -200 defeating porpose. At least the ones i tryed.

  36. #36
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    Good luck !

  37. #37
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    No yea def want a hard tail. Can't deal with all the bouncing and I'm not looking to put much distance between my body and the ground anytime soon. Cool well I will def call up to those guys and go to some shops here in athens where I live now and see what would be a good used option. thanks man

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    To buy or not to buy

    Hi guys, along the lines of this post I'm getting my first full suss bike. 2nd hand.
    It's an Ibis SL..here are the specs :
    Ibis-mojo(dhx-air 5.0)
    hope pro-II hubs/floating rotors/fire eye xlerant -lt rims
    crisking h.set/spank royala stem
    /rockshox pike 454/wtb pure-v/truvativ huss post/bontrager king earl bar
    avid elixir-cr red brakes/xtr 970 crank/rd/cog/shiftr/fd
    /kmc gold chain/straightline pedal-jeff lenoski edition/fire eye green grips.
    Now my question is if it is worth it at $3,100.00

    Thanks guys.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcampanella View Post
    Hi guys, along the lines of this post I'm getting my first full suss bike. 2nd hand.
    It's an Ibis SL..here are the specs :
    Ibis-mojo(dhx-air 5.0)
    hope pro-II hubs/floating rotors/fire eye xlerant -lt rims
    crisking h.set/spank royala stem
    /rockshox pike 454/wtb pure-v/truvativ huss post/bontrager king earl bar
    avid elixir-cr red brakes/xtr 970 crank/rd/cog/shiftr/fd
    /kmc gold chain/straightline pedal-jeff lenoski edition/fire eye green grips.
    Now my question is if it is worth it at $3,100.00

    Thanks guys.
    Depends what are you going to be doing with it?

    Bikes fit applications and riders not everything

    You wouldn't use a carbon fiber frame downhilling for example

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Live2Cycle87 View Post
    You wouldn't use a carbon fiber frame downhilling for example
    Tell that to Aaron Gwin.........

  41. #41
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    @live2cycle
    Thanks for the reply buddy. Well I do hit the trails about twice a week and a lot of cross country. I'm just wondering if the price is right? I've seen and rode the Ibis and it's a dream. Would you think it right for me to get it?
    TIA.

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