Please help the new guy
Hello everyone, I'm new to the sport and trying to do my research before buying my first bike (other then walmart bikes). I think i have it narrowed down to 2 bikes (more on that later).
First, my size is a factor, hence why i'm posting on this board...I'm 6'7" and about 230LBs. I went to my local LBS and he recommened 2 bikes (in my price point), the Marin bobcat trail, and a Jamis Durango 1. I would like to buy from his shop because he seems like an honest guy (he wouldn't even let me order a bike until i did some research, and he kept stressing how important strenth of the bike was for "us" guys).
What do you guys think about these 2 bikes? The marin's frame is is dead sexy and the componets are abit better then the Jamis, but the Marin has a rock shox dart 1 fork on it which i don't think can be fitted with stiffer springs (the Jamis forks can), although the bike guy said he might be able to do something...no idea what (mabey a different fork from the shop or a tweak on the current one...IDK).
I don't have a "riding style" or even know what kind of trails i will encounter. I will be bringing the bike to Korea for a year (I'm in the Air Force). The bike will be ridden everyday (no cars allowed), and i know there are hilly trails there.
Any help would be great, I would like to buy the bike soon so i can have it all sorted out, broken in, and tuned up before it gets shipped.
Thank-you for your time.
Man - you need a 29er bike. You're the same height as me, 20lbs lighter and I am not going back to those small wheels. I have been riding for some 14 yrs on and off - always searching for the biggest damn bike frame to suit me - never quite getting there. I watched with interest (from the UK) as some 'crazy people' in the USA were starting to develop 29er bikes. I thought the idea worked straight away - bigger wheels means a more proportional bike for us normal-sized guys. However, this small island wasn't ready for them yet, so I had to wait a little longer.
I got my 29er last year. It is exactly what a tall sturdy man needs - forget the 26 inch wheels - you'll just look like a circus bear on a tricycle. It fits. It feels right. It looks right. You're not looking to spend a lot of money there, but if you can stretch it a little more, buy the 29er now. Buy second hand if you have to. You'll make enough overseas with the USAF to afford it!
Ditto here on the 29er recommendation. I'm 6'4" and demo'd an XL 29er single speed a couple weekends ago. Pure bliss. Everything was stretched out to my size.
Take a quick glance at the used 29ers on our classifieds ... there's a Gary Fisher listed that looks pretty tempting ...
Go back to your LBS and ask them about 29ers ... the 29er is an old concept that has turned to a big fad lately ... a true bike shop would be stoked to build one up for you. Good luck.
"Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia" - H.G. Wells.
Thanks for your help guys. I did look into the 29ers and even asked the LBS guy about them, there was just no way to get one around $600 without going used (wanted new). Also if i had a problem while over in Korea, getting the proper 29er parts might be hard to do (remember, this will be my only way to get around).
I finally settled on a 22" Marin bobcat trail...the LBS guy called Rock shox to see about a stiffer spring and the little rubbery thing that goes in the forks, and they do in fact make those parts for the rock shox dart 1 forks. I am going to try the fork as-is and upgrade those parts if need be.
I definitely have to agree with the others on the 29er thing - I know your budget is low, but fit wise a normal bike won't cut it, you'll be all cramped up even on a normal XL frame. Heck I'm 6'2+" and a normal XL frame is just barely there for me, I'm seriously looking at getting a 29er myself and in looking the geometry they really are suite for us "normal" people. Good luck with the Marin, hope it holds up for you.
Have you looked at Gary Fisher Genesis hardtails?
I can recommend Gary Fisher Piranha (disc) or Marlin (v-brakes) in your price range. I put 6,000 miles on the Marlin no problem at all. They have genesis geometry and their 21" frame is equivalent to others 23", they have long cockpit and seatstay angled such that you can maintain traction on steep climbs.
2012 Cannondale Flash Carbon 3 29er
2013 Tarmac Sport
2009 Langster Moscow
"What is wrong?"
"You need a new bike"
You're going to Korea with the USAF - you have an APO number - you can get anything mail order! Trust me - you're closer to 29er nirvana than I am in Britain! The only specific 29er parts are rims and tyres.
Originally Posted by TooTallUK
fwiw: several riding buddies are happy with their Fisher rigs and Redline monocogs (29er bikes).
L&L -- I have some advice for you based on my personal experience with this kind of bike.
I have a couple of low-end Trek mountain bikes -- an Alpha 4300 and an Alpha 4500. They're very similar, in terms of frame material and geometry, to the Marin you purchased.
I am 6'5" (two inches shorter than you) and 300lbs (70lbs heavier).
Your bike has a pretty clear job description: go to korea, go up hilly trails, just work.
1.) Get rid of the suspension fork. You may be able to get a spring that gives you the proper sag, but face it, it's the cheapest fork Rock Shox makes. It has no features other than preload. It will not be a good climber. If anything happens to it, warranty service from RS may be... frustrating. My suggestion is to replace it with a quality rigid fork, such as the Surly Instigator fork. I have one on my 4300, and it's way tough. The fork is $100, but how much would you pay to actually enjoy climbing?
2.) Check out what the bicycle shops in Korea have to offer, and use their stuff, rather than ordering stuff from the states. Can't hurt to make friends with your LKBS.
3.) Don't treat this bike like a mountain bike, treat it like your everyday bike. I do silly things on my mountain bike because I know that if I break it, I still have my everyday bike to get me to work and back.
Thank-you everyone for your input. A couple of you said that the 22" marin might be tight, and i have to get a 29er....i have since done some more research and it seems that some 29ers effective top tube lenght on there biggest frame is the same as the 22" marin (24.3").
When you guys say the bike will be tight, what do you mean? knees hitting the bars?
beanfink, your input was a great help as well...I'll just ride the current fork till it breaks, or i can't take it anymore, then i'll worry about getting a riged or a proper susp. fork.
The bike sould be here on friday, we'll see how the bike feels at that time.
hitting the bars
Your bobcat is probably set up for someone several inches shorter than you.
The most visceral way of getting a proper fit is to ride a bike that doesn't fit, and then describe your pain to an LBS mechanic who knows how to translate "it hurts here and here" into "adjust this and that."
I don't know if you're tall in the legs or in the torso. if it's in the legs you'll want a 40cm seatpost so you can run the saddle high and get good leg extension. If it's in the torso you may want to use a really long stem, though this can affect handling and weight distribution. If your LBS is rad they'll just swap these parts out for free. Beer is the best bike lubricant.
I'm really interested in 29ers, in fact I have a Karate Monkey frame sitting here waiting for parts. I'm not sure a 29er would do your bobcat's job any better than the bobcat, though, given your circumstances. I've never shopped for bike parts in Korea, but they've probably got plenty of regular bike stuff and not so much American fad bike stuff. You probably could order a bunch of 29er stuff to your USAF address, but to me that sounds like a lot of time, money, and trouble for little added benefit. Wait until you get back to the states, and then test ride a Gary Fisher.
whatever you do...save your cash and buy used
the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days