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  1. #1
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    Help choosing new bike for (sorta) newbie?

    Hi, new to the forums - just getting back into mt. biking after a 12 year hiatus (took up paddling). I've managed to get out the last couple years a few times a year - places like Pierson, Lion Gulch, Big elk meadows area, Rabbit mountain, hall ranch - to give you an idea of what sort of biking I like to do. But I realize that my current bike (98 GT Avalanche) is not very good for some of the more technical stuff - like lion gulch.

    Anyway, it seems things have changed alot in the last decade. Back when I biked regularily, full suspension bikes were ungodly expensive and even front suspension were up there. Seems prices have come down some on the full suspension?

    I guess my question is - given the sort of trails I am likely to ride do you think that warrants full suspension - or will that be too heavy for the uphills? Also, my price point is around $1000-1500 - can I get anything decent in that price range? recommendation for particular manufacturers?

    thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Reputation: graeson's Avatar
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    Something like this would be a good starting point:

    Santa Cruz Heckler:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/2007-Santa-Cruz-...item255b94309d

  3. #3
    Your bike is incorrigible
    Reputation: Guyechka's Avatar
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    The thing to consider is, Do you want to be super comfortable on a low end bike or not quite as comfy on a mid-priced bike? You can find a full suspension for $1500, but it will be toward the lower end of the spectrum. On the other hand, you can get a nice hard tail with good components for $1500, but your butt will be sore. Personally, I would see what sort of deal you can get on a Santa Cruz Super Light. The bottom of the line build is still good and is right around your upper end. You'd still be getting a decent bike that really wouldn't need any upgrades. I lean more toward SC than companies like Specialized and Kona, but both of those will have lower end offerings as well. Just go into the shops and test ride a few to see which feels best.

  4. #4
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    Your question about what bike to buy has about a trillion answers, or maybe more. The advice that I usually give to people unfamiliar with newer bikes, or bikes at all, is to get a nice frame with a nice warranty for a good price from a shop that will help you work on the new stuff you aren't familiar with. Then you can upgrade parts as necessary and figure out what you like and don't like about the ride before you spend huge money on a bike. The worst feeling in the world is discovering you've become ensnared by the bike industry marketing and dropped way too much money on something that doesn't fit your personal riding style at all.

    If you are truly considering a full suspension bike and you like techy stuff like Hall, I bet you would have a great time on a Giant Trance X 4. It's a good climbing full suspension bike with a great linkage (Maestro), it's not too heavy, it's fun as all get out on the downhill, and the frame is totally worthy of upgraded parts as things break or you decide you want different stuff. Giant bikes have a lifetime frame warranty and most shops will give you a couple years of free maintenance so you can learn about suspension maintenance and setup (pivots, shock pressure, etc...). The MSRP of a new one is $1425, so you'll probably get it for about that and you'll save all of the added costs of getting/keeping a used bike ready to rock.

  5. #5
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    Bike technology has come a long way in the last 12 years. Nowadays full suspension bikes aren't all that much heavier than hardtails. If you think you would want full suspension it is worth the small weight increase.
    Your budget does limit your selection but there are a few options out there. Most of the bigger names have entry level FS bikes in your price range.

  6. #6
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    Reputation: dbabuser's Avatar
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    Keep your eyes open on Craigslist and the classifieds here, and you can afford more than new. Although this is a good time of year to shop for previous model year bikes at shops, too.
    http://classifieds.mtbr.com/showprod...uct=51564&cat=
    http://classifieds.mtbr.com/showprod...uct=51390&cat=
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  7. #7
    Your bike is incorrigible
    Reputation: Guyechka's Avatar
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    Sorry, but I think that craigslist is a bad idea for someone who has been out of the game for some time. Unless you know exactly what you're doing, you could make a big mistake on craigslist. A bike shop is going to be expensive, but they do want you on a bike that fits and makes you happy. Otherwise, they are not going to get repeat business. A person on craigslist is going to sell you a bike regardless if it fits. Plus, at a bike shop you can shop five different brands and see how they fit, their components, etc.

    I do agree that finding a 2010 bike on closeout is a good idea. You can get those for a few hundred off. It might also be worthwhile inquiring about a package deal on a bike, shoes, helmet, camelbak, shorts, etc.

  8. #8
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    I have been pretty happy with my yardsale full suspension bike. It was an expensive bike years ago and cost less than my entry level hard tail bike. Sometimes people buy expensive things and don't use them. Then they need money and sell things they don't need or use much. The bike looked like it was sitting in a garage for years in good condition. Needed some work, but was like it was meant to be mine.

    Craigslist, yard sales, ect are not always a bad idea. My bike is heavier than a new one, but it was an improvement on the new bike I bought before it.

    Full suspension made a difference for me.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guyechka
    Sorry, but I think that craigslist is a bad idea for someone who has been out of the game for some time. Unless you know exactly what you're doing, you could make a big mistake on craigslist. A bike shop is going to be expensive, but they do want you on a bike that fits and makes you happy. Otherwise, they are not going to get repeat business. A person on craigslist is going to sell you a bike regardless if it fits. Plus, at a bike shop you can shop five different brands and see how they fit, their components, etc.

    I do agree that finding a 2010 bike on closeout is a good idea. You can get those for a few hundred off. It might also be worthwhile inquiring about a package deal on a bike, shoes, helmet, camelbak, shorts, etc.
    Not riding for a few years doesn't necessarily mean he doesn't know how to find a bike that fits...
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  10. #10
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    +1 on the Giant Trance. It's definitely a nice bike for the money: good suspension design (fairly plush feel for a 4-5" bike), good pedaling/climbing efficiency, predictable, and stable at speed. I always have a big grin when I get to ride my friend's 06 (i think?) Trance. My only complain with it is the head tube angle is a bit steep for me (i'm used to 65-66 degrees).

  11. #11
    Your bike is incorrigible
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbabuser
    Not riding for a few years doesn't necessarily mean he doesn't know how to find a bike that fits...
    You're right, but it does mean he might not know about different shock technologies and what makes some newer bikes better than others. I'm talking more about components and suspension than fit.

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