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  1. #1
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    Is buying your first "nice" bike always this hard?

    Hi guys iv been struggling for quite some time now with selecting my next mtb purchase. I currently ride a HT and am looking for a FS that i can use in races but not completely limit myself to just that. I want to support my LBS but i find that I hear different stories often contradicting what i had read on the forums and herd from the competing LBS.
    Im a student and have saved for a long time for a bike upgrade which i think is the reason why I have been scared to purchase a bike that i may not like.

    I have test ridden the Specialized epic and the trek super fly and enjoyed both but did not feel confident enough to base a purchase on just trying the 2 plus i tried them 4 months apart.
    Bikes carried by my LBS that i have considered are:
    Cannondales scapel 29er 3 - SCALPEL 29ER 3 - Scalpel 29er - Full Suspension 29er - Mountain - Bikes - 2013
    Specialized Epic Comp 29 -Specialized Bicycle Components
    Scott Spark 940 - SCOTT Spark 940 Bike - SCOTT Sports
    Giant anthem advanced x 29er 2 (not sure why the componentry isnt as good comparitivly to the non advanced model) - Anthem X Advanced 29er 2 (2013) - Bikes | Giant Bicycles | Canada
    comparing the 2 anthems - Giant Bicycles | Canada
    Trek Superfly 100 AL - Trek Bicycle
    A couple things to note are I ride predominantly in southern Ontario and as you can see from the listed bikes im looking to spend around 3k.

    I look forward to any constructive feedback you may have regarding the bikes i have listed and hopefully assist me in coming to a conclusion on a purchase.
    Thank you for your time

  2. #2
    No Stranger to danger....
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    Nice post mate, well put together..

    IMHO i think the Giant Anthem is the stand out of the bunch, its a very nice bike, has the best maestro suspension system and i have only heard great things about the anthem and trance.
    It has a lifetime warranty on the frame, and giant give you the best bang for buck out of any company, its the Anthem hands down imo.
    cheers
    See how many of them you can demo as its a big decision your first full sus, but im pretty sure that after demoing the anthem you will come back and sing its praises, cheers
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....

  3. #3
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    ... and if we just ...

    These are all quality bikes and there is no right or wrong answer here-just subjective preferences. Any bike store worth it's salt will let you ride the bike, and if you can wait until spring you can likey find a couple of bike store demo days. When you actually ride the bikes, one will stand out. But there's no wrong answer. You will be happy with any of these bikes.

    A couple of concrete comments, though. The Scalpel has the Lefty front fork, which is an excellent system for rigidity and tracking, and gives you a little extra tracking. On the downside, there is no quick release on the front so if you are transporting the bike in the trunk of your car and need to take the wheel off, there is a little extra hassle.

    The specialized has the brain rear shock, which might be a good choice if you are racing.

    I have heard nothing but good things about the Giant, but have tried it myself and curiously was not a fan. That's why you need to ride your new bike first

    The Scott might be too much of a pure race bike for what you are looking for.

    Frequent poster Osokolo used to ride a superfly (the carbon one I think) and could probably give you some valuable input.

    Even more confused? Yep. Good. That's why my go to bikes a Singlespeed....
    Strava made me do it....

  4. #4
    Ms. Monster
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    Some of the good stuff has already been cherry-picked, but worth checking out the Canadian Cyclist classifieds, as many top-notch race bikes (often from sponsored elite cyclists) are listed there each fall as the season ends.

  5. #5
    Evil Jr.
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    To answer your original question, yes it is always this hard and no it doesn't get any easier with time if, like me, you're attracted to bright shiny things.

    I don't have any specific advice on any of the bikes you've listed since I haven't ridden any of them but I always tell people to buy the highest quality frame they can afford. Components can always be upgraded as they wear out (or as something new and shiny comes along).
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  6. #6
    humber river advocate
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcymarc View Post
    I look forward to any constructive feedback you may have regarding the bikes i have listed and hopefully assist me in coming to a conclusion on a purchase.
    Thank you for your time
    hard to give advice on the info that you have given...

    need more info:

    -how tall are you?
    -how seriously do you want to get into racing and what type?
    -do you like to jump or ride more aggressively?
    -are you going to travel with the bike in the future?
    -do you ride in the winter?
    -how long do you want to keep this new bike?
    -do want to service the bike yourself?

    the best advice i can give is avoid brands with a lot of propriety bits on the bike.
    get a bike that has the most common standard, that way it will give you a wide range of purchase choices when you wear out bits.
    Last edited by singlesprocket; 01-04-2013 at 07:56 AM.
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  7. #7
    All my faucets is Moen.
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    A great selection indeed.

    What I would consider when deciding between these equally awesome bikes is the dealer that you will be purchasing from. If its a shop you frequent and people you trust you should have a better piece of mind with your purchase and not be so nervous about spending a lot of money on a bike.

    Its that very reason I'm partial to two bikes on your list and there are two bike I would never buy. BTW I hear Trek has been sticklers with their warranties of late.

  8. #8
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    Get the bike that fits best.
    Buy it at your LBS or the shop you frequent the most.

  9. #9
    Evil Jr.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Braids View Post
    Get the bike that fits best.
    Buy it at your LBS or the shop you frequent the most.
    That's a good point and it's important to know as a first-time buyer than any shop worth its salt will do a proper fit on any bike you buy, up to and including swapping out the stem, seat post and/or saddle.

    If they just plan to send you out the door without at least getting you on the bike in a stand to check things like where your knees end up, you should probably go to a different shop.
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  10. #10
    More than a little slow
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    Quote Originally Posted by Braids View Post
    Get the bike that fits best.
    Buy it at your LBS or the shop you frequent the most.
    +1 . This is important (the fit bit), buy at your LBS if you can.
    As soon as you've bought it start planning for the next bike.
    Cheers, Dave

  11. #11
    Chicken or egg? Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcymarc View Post
    I have test ridden the Specialized epic and the trek super fly and enjoyed both but did not feel confident enough to base a purchase on just trying the 2 plus i tried them 4 months apart.
    Many people - myself included - have a lot of fun with the gear / tech side of things. Oogling the latest and greatest provides some entertainment and conversational topics with riding friends when you are not actually out on the trails or roads. However, the current reality is that within each category of bikes there are so many good options now that even with a random selection from the candidates you'd probably end up with a great bike. "Lemons" are actually the exception now among quality bikes.

    There may be little personal preferences involved, and you should try to ride as many test bikes as possible as a little check and balance, but speaking for myself I could probably find myself entirely content with any of a dozen+ different bikes in my category.

    Take your best educated guess from whatever research and test rides you do, buy a bike, don't look back with any second-guessing, and ride the crap out of it.

  12. #12
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    Thank you for the quick replys! In response to some of the comments:
    Tone's - Do you know what the differences are between the advanced version of the anthem and the standard anthem? (in my original post I posted a link) I have also heard good things about the anthem.
    Unglued - Thanks for the tips on the bikes. yeah possibly more confused.
    Single Sprocket:
    -how tall are you? 5ft 4"
    -how seriously do you want to get into racing and what type? I ride weekly race series and enjoy endurance races like 24 hour SS
    -do you like to jump or ride more aggressively? Im 21 so i enjoy getting myself introuble in some rock gardens or some tricky decends but dont hit any jumps.
    -are you going to travel with the bike in the future? Possibly but i dont want that to be the limiting factor.
    -do you ride in the winter? No
    -how long do you want to keep this new bike? 5 years? As long as it lasts and I dont exceed its capabilities.
    -do want to service the bike yourself? Minor things. I want to establish a relationship with a LBS so i can get reliable work done there.
    thedumbopinion - That is good advice. I have yet to find service that wasnt adequate but I will be able to get a better feel when i start pursuing test rides and proper fitting as recommended by other posters.
    Braids, garage monster, dskunk - Thanks for the tips. I havnt quite established a home base yet so Im excited to hopefully have picked one after my bike purchase.
    Nerdgirl - Thanks for the link i will look through it. Im hoping to purchase through a lbs to ensure correct fitting and their expert advice.

    I couple notes that have complicated things. Since its early season many bike shops dont have models im interested in to test ride on.
    Another note, i have test ridden bikes before and find it flawed because unless i really dislke the bike i will want to compare it to the competitors models but some times theyre demos are seperated by months.

    I am not in a rush right now to purchase unless i come to a conclusion so i may hit up some demos if they are early in the season.

    Continue to provide your opinions on the bikes listed. Thank you.

  13. #13
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    Thedumbopinion - Which bikes are you partial towards and which are you not?
    Circlip thank you for your post!
    you are probably very right and I hope that the case because the longer i ponder about the many bikes available i just want to buy one and "just ride the crap out of it"

  14. #14
    Lemmy Rules!
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcymarc View Post
    Thank you for the quick replys! In response to some of the comments:
    Tone's - Do you know what the differences are between the advanced version of the anthem and the standard anthem? (in my original post I posted a link) I have also heard good things about the anthem.
    Unglued - Thanks for the tips on the bikes. yeah possibly more confused.
    Single Sprocket:
    -how tall are you? 5ft 4"
    -how seriously do you want to get into racing and what type? I ride weekly race series and enjoy endurance races like 24 hour SS
    -do you like to jump or ride more aggressively? Im 21 so i enjoy getting myself introuble in some rock gardens or some tricky decends but dont hit any jumps.
    -are you going to travel with the bike in the future? Possibly but i dont want that to be the limiting factor.
    -do you ride in the winter? No
    -how long do you want to keep this new bike? 5 years? As long as it lasts and I dont exceed its capabilities.
    -do want to service the bike yourself? Minor things. I want to establish a relationship with a LBS so i can get reliable work done there.
    thedumbopinion - That is good advice. I have yet to find service that wasnt adequate but I will be able to get a better feel when i start pursuing test rides and proper fitting as recommended by other posters.
    Braids, garage monster, dskunk - Thanks for the tips. I havnt quite established a home base yet so Im excited to hopefully have picked one after my bike purchase.
    Nerdgirl - Thanks for the link i will look through it. Im hoping to purchase through a lbs to ensure correct fitting and their expert advice.

    I couple notes that have complicated things. Since its early season many bike shops dont have models im interested in to test ride on.
    Another note, i have test ridden bikes before and find it flawed because unless i really dislke the bike i will want to compare it to the competitors models but some times theyre demos are seperated by months.

    I am not in a rush right now to purchase unless i come to a conclusion so i may hit up some demos if they are early in the season.

    Continue to provide your opinions on the bikes listed. Thank you.
    If you are in the GTA, you might want to consider going to the Toronto bike show in March. All of the bikes that you have mentioned will probably be there, and there is a demo area. Granted, the demo area is just a small enclosure where you can ride in circles on flat ground, which is less than ideal, but the positive is that you can ride all the bikes back to back or the same day. You may also be able to pick up a deal on a 2012 bike that someone is blowing out to make room for this year's stock. It may be, if you are on a limited budget, that price is the deciding factor at the end of the day.

    Re: fit, I agree. I can tell you that Dukes on Queen in Toronto offers a free fit on every new bike and carries Trek and Cannondale. That said, Cannondale has a lot of proprietary parts and I agree with Singlesprocket that this has its own set of headaches when looking to replace stuff that is worn out. Not sure what Trek's warranty deal is as it has been years since I owned one, but a good bike store will go up to bat for you in warranty issues and may help with that, so The Dumb Opinion is not so dumb here either....

    A couple more random thoughts:

    1. Shopping for a bike is FUN! Enjoy it, and don't stress;
    2. If the bike fits you properly, that's half the battle, and pretty much any bike can be made to fit you, presuming your are not freakishly tall or uncannily short etc;
    3. Given that every bike can be made to fit you and work out well at the end of the day, you are at liberty to take subjective stuff into account. ie you like the colour of the SPecialized Epic? Go for it. You think the Scalpel looks bad*ss. That's valid. The most important thing is that you like the bike you are on, and I can practically guarantee that at the end of the day, one bike will jump out at you and it's OK to go with your gut. I always have and have never been disappointed.
    4. All of the bikes you mention are 29'ers. If you are on a 26" bike now, a 29er hardtail might be a good alternative - the big wheels and fatter tires help take the edge of things so depending on the sort of riding you want to do, I went from 26" suspension to 29er hardtail and as a cross country kind of guy, havent really missed the squish. A hardtail will be lighter and more bang for the buck (or less buck). I've ridden the Scalpel and the Flash and much preferred the Flash (a hardtail)
    5. If you really hate your bike after a season, there's always pinkbike and kijiji.

    Good luck and feel free to keep us all posted on this thread as to the bike selection process.
    Strava made me do it....

  15. #15
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    The bike festival in Milton happens fairly early in the season, and is usually well attended by shop and manufacturers doing demos, isn't it?

  16. #16
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    Another couple of thoughts - at 5'4" (my height!), you might have a harder time finding everything in stock in your size to demo.

    Some shops offer a bike fitting service for a fee - might be worth it if the price differential/quality to used is big enough. Having said that, if you buy the wrong size, it will never feel right (been there, done that).

    I have found that Giants have longer top tubes (more stretched out), which doesn't work for my body at all. If you have a long torso, that might be a different story.

    I love love love my 29er (even though it is fully rigid).

  17. #17
    Evil Jr.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unglued View Post
    If you are in the GTA, you might want to consider going to the Toronto bike show in March.
    The Trek Store always seems to have especially good prices on their previous year demo bikes at the show so if by the spring, Trek is still in the running, you might consider waiting 'til then.
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  18. #18
    All my faucets is Moen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcymarc View Post
    Thedumbopinion - Which bikes are you partial towards and which are you not?
    Well as Unglued said earlier its all subjective but since you asked...

    In my area (Niagara) I deal with a bike shop who sells Specialized (and Cannondale but I don't like the Lefty) and another shop who sells Scott. Personally I would buy a bike based on the service and quality of the shop.

    The Trek and Giant dealer in my area don't get a lot of good reviews (to say the least) that doesn't mean that the dealer in your area is awesome and it wouldn't be the right purchase for you.

  19. #19
    humber river advocate
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    more info... now we got something to work with.

    -you don't ride in the winter so your wheel size/clearence is not critical to match studded tires
    -5'4" in height which means a small frame
    -you want to race and keep the bike for a while

    i think the answer is pretty simple: anthem.x.advanced.29er good bike with a good warranty
    and if you shop around you can get a good deal.

    don't worry about fit to much, you can always fine tune once you start riding the bike and know its quirks. as long as the frame is within your height range you will be ok.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unglued View Post
    These are all quality bikes and there is no right or wrong answer here-just subjective preferences. Any bike store worth it's salt will let you ride the bike, and if you can wait until spring you can likey find a couple of bike store demo days. When you actually ride the bikes, one will stand out. But there's no wrong answer. You will be happy with any of these bikes..

    I have heard nothing but good things about the Giant, but have tried it myself and curiously was not a fan. That's why you need to ride your new bike first
    This needs to be emphasized again. Even if two people have a similar riding style, skill level, ride in the same areas, and even have similar body measurements, it does not necessarily mean that they'll be happy on the same bike.

    The above describes myself and a friend of mine, he rides an Epic and loves it. Every time I try out his bike I feel like I'm one hiccup away from a crash, I just do not get along with the bike. Both of us have also demo'd Rocky Mountain Elements in 26er and 29er on the same trails, he got along a lot better with the 29er whereas I found the 26er more to my liking. And yet we both feel right at home on a Specialized Enduro. Go figure.

    Bottom line - you need to ride the bikes.

  21. #21
    I wonder why?
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    I’ve custom built quite a few bikes for myself and friends over the years, including a few for folks that race or have raced. This building process involves frame and component selection. Most complete builds end up costing 3,000 to $4,000 for something that would retail in the $6,000 to $7,000 range. I’m bringing this up because if you have the time, you may want to buy the various components and build something custom for yourself. If you don’t have the skills or interest in actually doing the build, buy some of the components from your preferred LBS and have them do it for you.

    In my experience, most of those that I have built for really didn’t know what a properly fit bike felt like. In most instances, I’ll ride with the people I’m building for to get a feel for their skill set and riding style preferences.

    It is important to note that not all LBS’ have the expertise to fit properly (even if they claim that they do), so do some research beforehand. Testing bikes “off the shelf” often doesn’t provide adequate info to properly compare different bikes because they are not set up properly or fit properly for the test ride. In addition, tire selection and psi can contribute considerably to how a bike handles. If your not experienced with the tires on the test bike, if the PSI is too little or too high for your body weight the test experience will be a waste of time.

    Others have made some very good observations and suggestions, but I still think that there are some additional things to consider.

    Firstly, what are you currently riding? Frame make, model, size, wheel and tire sizes, and fork. What do you like and not like about this bike?

    Secondly, you have mentioned that participate in weekly races, endurance races, and enjoy some technical riding. That’s a wide range of riding but still vague in my view, since one can’t determine the relative technicality of the trails.

    To me it would be more important to understand:
    - where you race and ride (location and trails),
    - what trails you liked best, found easiest, found hardest, disliked most (and why to all).
    Equally important is:
    - your height, weight (weight is important in shock and fork selection),
    - body type (long/short torso; long/short legs, long/short arms),
    - wrenching/mechanical skillst, and
    - go forward riding preferences,
    Based upon all of the above, I would then look for the most suitable frame geometry/suspension design.

    Most people want to set their bike’s suspension and then forget it. So a geometry and suspension design that allows versatility over a wide range of trail conditions is preferred. Adapting from racing to more technical “trail” riding can be easily accomplished by tire selection and/ or wheelset and tire selection (if you have the extra cash).

    After selecting the frame and fork (and shock if necessary), I then look for the most suitable wheelset, crankset (length), followed by the remaining components. When building I leave the fork steer tube uncut and set up the seat and handlebar position and suspension settings to what I think will work best for the person I’m building for (this is also what your LBS should do). Then we both hit the trails to fine tune things.

    I bring and number of steerer spacers and stems (of different lengths and rise) to swap in and out so the person can get a feel of what works best for them. Ask your LBS to lend you some spacers and different stems, so you can experiment for yourself to get a feel of what different hand positions make. I get them to try different saddle positions, often in tandem with different handlebar positions (wider narrower, higher, lower, etc.). I also get the person to move around on the bike to get the feel of different body positions. You should do these things for yourself too. They are not hard to adjust, just ask your LBS to show you how. You’d be surprised at how many people sit in one position regardless of the terrain. Once the person has found their riding position “sweet spot”, the steerer tube and handlebars are cut (as necessary).

    Regardless of which bike you choose, spend the time as noted above to find your “sweet spot”. And when doing so, try to keep an open mind and not be biased by old habits. To get the best performance and most enjoyment, an experienced rider will adapt their riding style to suit the characteristics of the bike.

    I can’t comment on any of the bikes that you have listed since I have no experience with any of these frames/bikes. And before I’d recommend any bike or frame I’d need more info on what you currently ride, body type, the trails that you ride, what you like, don’t like, etc. as noted above.

    As others have said take your time and enjoy the process.

    Good luck.

    i1dry?
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  22. #22
    humber river advocate
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    wow, you must be a huge volume dealer to buy a frame set and then build up the wheels, custom gruppo, fork, etc... cheaper by $2000-$3000 then a complete bike from the manufacturer.







    Quote Originally Posted by i1dry View Post
    I’ve custom built quite a few bikes for myself and friends over the years, including a few for folks that race or have raced. This building process involves frame and component selection. Most complete builds end up costing 3,000 to $4,000 for something that would retail in the $6,000 to $7,000 range. I’m bringing this up because if you have the time, you may want to buy the various components and build something custom for yourself. If you don’t have the skills or interest in actually doing the build, buy some of the components from your preferred LBS and have them do it for you.

    In my experience, most of those that I have built for really didn’t know what a properly fit bike felt like. In most instances, I’ll ride with the people I’m building for to get a feel for their skill set and riding style preferences.

    It is important to note that not all LBS’ have the expertise to fit properly (even if they claim that they do), so do some research beforehand. Testing bikes “off the shelf” often doesn’t provide adequate info to properly compare different bikes because they are not set up properly or fit properly for the test ride. In addition, tire selection and psi can contribute considerably to how a bike handles. If your not experienced with the tires on the test bike, if the PSI is too little or too high for your body weight the test experience will be a waste of time.

    Others have made some very good observations and suggestions, but I still think that there are some additional things to consider.

    Firstly, what are you currently riding? Frame make, model, size, wheel and tire sizes, and fork. What do you like and not like about this bike?

    Secondly, you have mentioned that participate in weekly races, endurance races, and enjoy some technical riding. That’s a wide range of riding but still vague in my view, since one can’t determine the relative technicality of the trails.

    To me it would be more important to understand:
    - where you race and ride (location and trails),
    - what trails you liked best, found easiest, found hardest, disliked most (and why to all).
    Equally important is:
    - your height, weight (weight is important in shock and fork selection),
    - body type (long/short torso; long/short legs, long/short arms),
    - wrenching/mechanical skillst, and
    - go forward riding preferences,
    Based upon all of the above, I would then look for the most suitable frame geometry/suspension design.

    Most people want to set their bike’s suspension and then forget it. So a geometry and suspension design that allows versatility over a wide range of trail conditions is preferred. Adapting from racing to more technical “trail” riding can be easily accomplished by tire selection and/ or wheelset and tire selection (if you have the extra cash).

    After selecting the frame and fork (and shock if necessary), I then look for the most suitable wheelset, crankset (length), followed by the remaining components. When building I leave the fork steer tube uncut and set up the seat and handlebar position and suspension settings to what I think will work best for the person I’m building for (this is also what your LBS should do). Then we both hit the trails to fine tune things.

    I bring and number of steerer spacers and stems (of different lengths and rise) to swap in and out so the person can get a feel of what works best for them. Ask your LBS to lend you some spacers and different stems, so you can experiment for yourself to get a feel of what different hand positions make. I get them to try different saddle positions, often in tandem with different handlebar positions (wider narrower, higher, lower, etc.). I also get the person to move around on the bike to get the feel of different body positions. You should do these things for yourself too. They are not hard to adjust, just ask your LBS to show you how. You’d be surprised at how many people sit in one position regardless of the terrain. Once the person has found their riding position “sweet spot”, the steerer tube and handlebars are cut (as necessary).

    Regardless of which bike you choose, spend the time as noted above to find your “sweet spot”. And when doing so, try to keep an open mind and not be biased by old habits. To get the best performance and most enjoyment, an experienced rider will adapt their riding style to suit the characteristics of the bike.

    I can’t comment on any of the bikes that you have listed since I have no experience with any of these frames/bikes. And before I’d recommend any bike or frame I’d need more info on what you currently ride, body type, the trails that you ride, what you like, don’t like, etc. as noted above.

    As others have said take your time and enjoy the process.

    Good luck.

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by aerius View Post
    This needs to be emphasized again. Even if two people have a similar riding style, skill level, ride in the same areas, and even have similar body measurements, it does not necessarily mean that they'll be happy on the same bike.

    The above describes myself and a friend of mine, he rides an Epic and loves it. Every time I try out his bike I feel like I'm one hiccup away from a crash, I just do not get along with the bike. Both of us have also demo'd Rocky Mountain Elements in 26er and 29er on the same trails, he got along a lot better with the 29er whereas I found the 26er more to my liking. And yet we both feel right at home on a Specialized Enduro. Go figure.

    Bottom line - you need to ride the bikes.
    Aeries and Unglued bring up a huge valid point. You need to ride the bikes and figure out which one you are comfortable on. That will in the end have a far biger and reaching effect on you riding the bike. Buying the bike that isn't comfortable all will end up is neglected and then sold off on Pinkbike.
    www.teamnfi.blogspot.com



    Depression...can eat a sack of manure and die.

  24. #24
    GAME ON!
    Reputation: saturnine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    always buy the red one. it's the only thing that matters and it's way faster.
    RIP Adam Yauch

    "M.C. for what I AM and do, the A is for Adam and the lyrics; true"

  25. #25
    Chicken or egg? Moderator
    Reputation: Circlip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcymarc View Post
    Circlip thank you for your post!
    you are probably very right and I hope that the case because the longer i ponder about the many bikes available i just want to buy one and "just ride the crap out of it"
    I finally found a minute to check out the Giant web site to answer your previous question. The Anthem X Advanced 29er has a carbon front triangle on the frame mated to an Aluminum rear triangle, compared to the standard Anthem X is Aluminum front and rear triangle. If done right - which you can probably count on from Giant - carbon will shave a bit of weight (fraction of a pound for front triangle?) and may be a bit stiffer laterally also.

    If the price point is similar for both of the "2" models, then more money goes into the frame on the Advanced, which means that less is available to go into componentry which would be why the Aluminum model (if similar price point) might have higher spec components.

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