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  1. #1
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    General Question about Drive Train Spec'ing on New Bikes

    Just a general observation, but a grievence I feel I must air.

    I have not been in the new bike market for 5 years, so I know a lot of stuff has changed in that time, but something definitely bugs me about the way new bikes are spec'ed in terms of their drivetrains.

    I've noticed plenty of bikes priced between, say $1800-$2600, spec'ed with Deore and/or LX derailleurs (mostly front) and even LX cranks, not to mention LX rear cassettes which are pretty standard at this price level. LX shifters are pretty common as well, but that doesn't bother me as much.

    The question is why? The drivetrain is basically the heart and soul of the bike, why is it the first thing to be compromised? Only at the very top of this price range do you see full XT being offered. Seriously, at this pricepoint, I shouldn't even see the words "LX" or "Deore" on the bike. One has to spend at least $3000 to see the word "XTR." That's just my opinion. I mean how can you take advantage of great frame designs and buttery smooth front and rear suspension if the drivetrain will eventually run like **** after 10 rides? Not to mention, spending well over $2000.

    Am I out of line here?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by ziggurat22

    Am I out of line here?
    I think only somewhat out of line......granted, for those prices, you'd kinda "expect" somewhat higher end drivetrain stuff, but LX and Deore really ain't that bad, if you can overcome others "snobbery". Properly adjusted, they work just fine , maybe a little heavier, but no biggie. ....fine enough until ya break it and HAVE to replace it ("upgrade"). I disagree , feeling that the frame/suspension design is the heart and soul of a bike - everything else is just "expendable parts"...of course, this is just my mindless afternoon ramblinhg, and have been wrong before (hehheh...ask my wife )

  3. #3
    all hail der Fuhrer Bush
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    yeah, what he said

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuelish
    I think only somewhat out of line......granted, for those prices, you'd kinda "expect" somewhat higher end drivetrain stuff, but LX and Deore really ain't that bad, if you can overcome others "snobbery". Properly adjusted, they work just fine , maybe a little heavier, but no biggie. ....fine enough until ya break it and HAVE to replace it ("upgrade"). I disagree , feeling that the frame/suspension design is the heart and soul of a bike - everything else is just "expendable parts"...of course, this is just my mindless afternoon ramblinhg, and have been wrong before (hehheh...ask my wife )
    The heart of a bicycle is the frame. Derailleurs are some of the least important parts. I haven't seen a derailleur made in the last 15 years that didn't shift fine.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bulC
    The heart of a bicycle is the frame. Derailleurs are some of the least important parts. I haven't seen a derailleur made in the last 15 years that didn't shift fine.
    No doubt, the frame is basically the heart and soul of the bike, obviously without it, one would not have bike, but a pile of shiny bike parts. I guess I overstated the importance of the drivetrain, stating it was "the heart and soul of the bike." I reckon I overdramatized to make my point. However, let's not deny the importance of a quality, fine-tuned drivetrain. On a bike where one is spending multi-thousands of dollars, are we not entitled to at least full XT, in terms of drivetrain, at the $2000-$2500 pricepoint? Shouldn't the components in the drivetrain of such a bike be well above average? I mean, anyone can make do with LX and/or Deore components in their drivetrain, but if you're spending $2000-$2500 for a bike, should one have simply "make do"? I guess that's my point.

    Some companies spec bikes much better than others. Jamis for one, specs their 2nd best XC full sus bike full XT for $1999. Great deal. GT specs their IDXC 1.0 full XT for $2499. Also, very good.

    On the other hand, Fisher and Trek aren't nearly as generous. One of their rigs, full XT, runs you $2700 to nearly $3000. In the $2000-$2500 range, you get a combo of XT, deore, and LX.

    Kona, whose King Kikapu for 2004 seemed like a great deal at $2399, full XT, now makes you pay a full $200 more for the same bike in 2005.

    I guess I'm just ranting, and it's been over 5 years since I've been in the new bike market, so I know stuff has changed a lot. However, I feel if you're spending $2000+ for a bike, you shouldn't have to compromise all that much, especially on you drive train.

  5. #5
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    Part of the price/parts level "problem" comes down to how expensive the frames are to produce....I believe that all Treks above a certain price point ($500-600, somewhere 'round there, I think) have the frames built here in the US. Thus, if the frame costs more to produce, they have to scale back a little somewhere to reach a certain pricepoint. Most manufacturers that produce their frames overseas are generally able to offer "better spec'ced bikes" at the same pricepoint as "lesser equipped" Treks or Fishers, etc. Giant has always offered tremendous "bang for the buck" - great spec at good price. And anyways, at the prices you're talking, the lower end drivetrain stuff they're putting on isn't really "bad" ......just a little heavy and doesn't have the snob appeal of xtr - performance will be fine if properly adjusted. Really !!!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuelish
    Part of the price/parts level "problem" comes down to how expensive the frames are to produce....I believe that all Treks above a certain price point ($500-600, somewhere 'round there, I think) have the frames built here in the US. Thus, if the frame costs more to produce, they have to scale back a little somewhere to reach a certain pricepoint. Most manufacturers that produce their frames overseas are generally able to offer "better spec'ced bikes" at the same pricepoint as "lesser equipped" Treks or Fishers, etc. Giant has always offered tremendous "bang for the buck" - great spec at good price. And anyways, at the prices you're talking, the lower end drivetrain stuff they're putting on isn't really "bad" ......just a little heavy and doesn't have the snob appeal of xtr - performance will be fine if properly adjusted. Really !!!
    True enough, Fuelish, I can definitely see that.

    How could I forget Giant? They do spec the Giants rather nicely.

    Believe me, I know about LX componentry. I have a '99 Ziggurat that was spec'ed w/ LX cranks, BB, cassette, front derailleur, and shifters. That was to expected since I paid $1300 total after sales tax. I've pretty much swapped everything except the front derailleur, which remains LX to this day. Works just fine, shifts smooth. The LX crankset was another story. Just rantin' about the new bikes.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ziggurat22
    Just rantin' about the new bikes.
    Understandable, and understood !!! Believe it (or not...) , my old, original mtb ('90 Schwinn Sierra MOS - before they made Sierras into "comfort bikes") still has the original front and rear drs....some kind of Shimano Exage 400 lx, or something like that...LOL...they were entry level then, but yet (other than replacing the pulley cogs or whatever they're called in the rear dr), still function just fine to this day - it's my wife's occasional ride (am trying to get her to get more of a real bike, but she's just into paved cruising, so it suffices...LOL).
    I know where you're coming from, on all this...just presenting "another view" on the subject. Pretty much anything spec'ced by a major manufacturer is going to be functional....perhaps not the latest and greatest, but low end stuff these days is better than good stuff 10 years ago...it's a matter of perspective, perhaps.
    Cheers !!!!

  8. #8
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    The Ironhorse Hollowpoint Expert comes with full xt for 1450.00...

  9. #9
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    Fork, shocks a big part too

    When I first bought a mountain bike 15 years ago you could get a bike with full XT for much cheaper. And IIRC the components weren't much cheaper than they are now. The big difference is suspension.

    A full suspension frame costs more than a fully rigid frame. The frame itself is much more complicated. Tubes aren't just butted; they are extensively reshaped to reduce weight while maintaining strength in critical areas.

    The fork and rear shock cost a lot as well. The Fox fork and rear shock on a $2000 dual-suspension bike retails for over $800. This is the thing that really drives up the price of a bike. A manufacturer has to source these components from a third party, so the cost is not as flexible.

    The quality of Deore and LX parts has improved as well. The differences in functionality doesn't seem as extreme as it used to be.

  10. #10
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    frame, wheels then forks in terms of most important. or forks then wheels depending on your budget id say.

    thats what my money goes on first anyhow

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