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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
    No. Just No.
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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
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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.

  24. #24
    GAME ON!
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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
    No. Just No.
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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.

  26. #26
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    Some great points made in this thread.

    I'd say though that test rides are BS, and i1dry touches on this point in his post. The problem is that to properly evaluate a bike, you need to have the final fit right.

    That means getting the saddle, seaport, stem, bars set for you, and potentially setting sag, and even tire pressure. Some bike shops may accommodate this a bit before you buy, but many would not, and probably wouldn't fit you on 4 different bikes.

    You could be on the "perfect" bike, but incorrect setup could make it feel like crap.

    I agree with Unglued in that all of the bikes you mention are quality, and assuming you get the frame size right, you will be off to a great start and great fit.

    Some generic things you can look for that aren't fit-specific:
    -Warranty (previously mentioned by Singlesprocket)
    -Any proprietary parts? (Specialized burns me all the time with stuff like 142+)
    -Quality of components, i.e. one has SLX, the other has XT drivetrain
    -Branch office locations, i.e. is warranty work done in Montréal, or have to be shipped to Texas?

    Agreed, process is a huge PITA, but still fun. Exciting times man.

  27. #27
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    The last bike I purchased I could not demo and I was spending over $6k on the build. There were no built up frames available so I went on research & rider reviews based on information I provided them. 11 years later I'm still on the same bike but looking to do it all over again on another frame I can't demo!

    Spending time in the various manufacturers forums here on mtbr was very useful and I gained considerable insight which helped me with my decision. I told other riders about my riding style, range of terrain I was riding and where I was expecting to progress after the bike was purchased. I got to know the various forum characters and weed out those whose opinions I doubted. There were lots of people riding the bike I was considering so the feedback was extremely valuable.

    So many parts of the bike affect the feel/fit of it however the frame's suspension design cannot change (it can be improved or not based on shock choice but structurally always works the same). So for me frame design and value was key, I went with the best frame (for me) that I could afford and the spent years modifying it with various components to get it dialed for me as I matured as a rider with the frame's potential.

    Ultimately a demo ride will be limited by the bike's setup which can vary as others have mentioned. You also won't be able to try a wide range of terrain conditions.

    Keep in mind, whatever you purchase, you'll be close to what you're looking for and will need time to adapt to suspension design characteristics (Maestro, FSR, etc) and fitting tweaks over several weeks/months. Because it's a different bike, your riding style will change to fit with the bikes capabilities and strengths.

    IF you find you're not happy after all that, SELL IT and move onto something else. Yes it's a pita but if you do this instead of letting the bike sit as you ride less, you'll get a better resale price so more money to put towards something else you'd like to try. Try not to see this as $3k down the drain, if you move relatively quickly, it can be a far less expensive venture once you've sold it and are looking at something else. You will also have gained valuable information on what you're ultimately looking for.

    As others have said, you're in a price range where lemons are pretty rare. Get one, feel good about your decision (you did the best with the info you had) and ride the crap out of it

  28. #28
    I wonder why?
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    Quote Originally Posted by singlesprocket View Post
    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.
    Why the sarcastic condescension??? Does it make you feel "bigger"?

    I'm no dealer, I build and fit bikes as a hobby. It's something that I'm passionate about and have been doing for a long time. I don't charge anything, my compensation is the joy of the build and the smile on the faces of others.

    At the end of the season there are always close outs on new frames at highly discounted prices. With a little research you can sometimes find lightly used demo bikes/frames at a great price. The off season is the best time to source other components as well.

    The last bike I built was for a female friend who's only 5' 2" and a strong rider. This made finding a frame a bit more challenging. She decided on a XS Titus FTM (new - paid $800 with Fox Float RP3 shock and On-One head set), American Classic AM wheelset (new - paid $700), and Fox Float 32 140 Fit (new - paid $550). The rest of the components were also all new: Thompson seat post and stem, Easton carbon bars, XT crank, RD, brakes and XTR RD (Rapid Rise), shifters. cables and housing, Italia saddle, all of which came in at under $1,400. The Rocket Ron 2.4 and 2.25 tires were the only things we couldn't find at a super price. Pedals came off her old bike.

    So all in she paid a little over $3,600. It took a couple of months to source all the parts, but in the end she got tremendous value for the dollars spent. Her previous bike was a top of the line carbon XC Trek (supposedly properly fit) and with the Titus her riding (speed, skills, and enjoyment) have improved over 100%.

    If one is willing to go with the previous years top of the line parts, the savings can be substantial.

    i1dry?
    ...some drink from the fountain of knowledge..some only gargle...!!

  29. #29
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    now i probably don't build as many bikes as you... but your numbers are a kinda high and low. if dirtbagging for several year old parts and obscure frames from out of business companies is your thing and makes you happy, go for it... but if i buy a bike (that i keep for a few years) i prefer to get a 2013 from a manufacturer with a great and fast warranty from an established lbs with good customer service.

    for example i've picked up a complete 2013 transition bandit for around $3100 ($500 less then your build) that will preform better and that has an excellent warranty/customer service from my lbs (cyclesolutions plug).








    Quote Originally Posted by i1dry View Post
    Why the sarcastic condescension??? Does it make you feel "bigger"?

    I'm no dealer, I build and fit bikes as a hobby. It's something that I'm passionate about and have been doing for a long time. I don't charge anything, my compensation is the joy of the build and the smile on the faces of others.

    At the end of the season there are always close outs on new frames at highly discounted prices. With a little research you can sometimes find lightly used demo bikes/frames at a great price. The off season is the best time to source other components as well.

    The last bike I built was for a female friend who's only 5' 2" and a strong rider. This made finding a frame a bit more challenging. She decided on a XS Titus FTM (new - paid $800 with Fox Float RP3 shock and On-One head set), American Classic AM wheelset (new - paid $700), and Fox Float 32 140 Fit (new - paid $550). The rest of the components were also all new: Thompson seat post and stem, Easton carbon bars, XT crank, RD, brakes and XTR RD (Rapid Rise), shifters. cables and housing, Italia saddle, all of which came in at under $1,400. The Rocket Ron 2.4 and 2.25 tires were the only things we couldn't find at a super price. Pedals came off her old bike.

    So all in she paid a little over $3,600. It took a couple of months to source all the parts, but in the end she got tremendous value for the dollars spent. Her previous bike was a top of the line carbon XC Trek (supposedly properly fit) and with the Titus her riding (speed, skills, and enjoyment) have improved over 100%.

    If one is willing to go with the previous years top of the line parts, the savings can be substantial.

    i1dry?
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  30. #30
    Lemmy Rules!
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    Quote Originally Posted by singlesprocket View Post
    now i probably don't build as many bikes as you... but your numbers are a kinda high and low. if dirtbagging for several year old parts and obscure frames from out of business companies is your thing and makes you happy, go for it... but if i buy a bike (that i keep for a few years) i prefer to get a 2013 from a manufacturer with a great and fast warranty from an established lbs with good customer service.

    for example i've picked up a complete 2013 transition bandit for around $3100 ($500 less then your build) that will preform better and that has an excellent warranty/customer service from my lbs (cyclesolutions plug).
    SS and 'Dry - why the pissing match about the best way to build a bike???? How is this helping the original poster figure out which bike is right for him? Please agree to disagree and lets move on...
    Strava made me do it....

  31. #31
    I <3 29ers
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcymarc View Post
    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
    In a friendly, but more than just assertive way ...

    Understood that you want the most for your money, but you're coming across like you're living in fear. Four months between test rides? You'll never buy anything at that rate. And if you ever did come close ... OH, next year's models are out now, can't buy the one you just decided on. Seriously, it happens.

    As for contradicting reports from LBS when compared to the internet - oh boy. I've been a long time DIY guy. I don't support any LBS because I have seen/heard FAR too many statements made to a customer then heard the truth after the sale ... which was a different answer (usually has to do with profit margins). Far too many owners sell what get's them the bucks because, hey, they have a BUSINESS to run. There's a lot of shops like this. A lot of them are "forced" into this because of the BS games the distributors play (Norco, OTE, Orange, Shimano blahblahblah). Don't get me wrong, the LBS doesn't have it easy and do deserve the help, but finding one that is worth it ... THAT should be why you can't decide on what to buy, moreso than the bike itself.

    That said, imho and years of experience building and helping others, FIT is THEEEEEEEE most important item to consider. Next is price. Then the warm fuzzy boner you get looking at the bike that makes you wanna get on the darn thing in the first place. If you get an LBS you can trust then good for you, but don't hold your breath. If you bought the right bike you shouldn't need to be going back to resolve issues in the first place.


    EDIT - oh yeah, to answer your title question - buying your first nice bike is only as difficult as you make it. That being said, time and experience (riding different bikes) are two tools you can use to help you through life in making the process easier in the future. I look at geometry now and it's pretty easy for me to tell if i'll like it or not ... but i've got 25 years at this. The first few years ... completely clueless. We're not all born with the knowledge - learn, enjoy. As some people if you can try out their bike.
    I ..... need ..... DIRT!!!!!

    ... and cookies.

  32. #32
    humber river advocate
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unglued View Post
    SS and 'Dry - why the pissing match about the best way to build a bike???? How is this helping the original poster figure out which bike is right for him? Please agree to disagree and lets move on...
    your right, time to move on.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by i1dry View Post
    Why the sarcastic condescension??? Does it make you feel "bigger"?

    I'm no dealer, I build and fit bikes as a hobby. It's something that I'm passionate about and have been doing for a long time. I don't charge anything, my compensation is the joy of the build and the smile on the faces of others.

    At the end of the season there are always close outs on new frames at highly discounted prices. With a little research you can sometimes find lightly used demo bikes/frames at a great price. The off season is the best time to source other components as well.

    The last bike I built was for a female friend who's only 5' 2" and a strong rider. This made finding a frame a bit more challenging. She decided on a XS Titus FTM (new - paid $800 with Fox Float RP3 shock and On-One head set), American Classic AM wheelset (new - paid $700), and Fox Float 32 140 Fit (new - paid $550). The rest of the components were also all new: Thompson seat post and stem, Easton carbon bars, XT crank, RD, brakes and XTR RD (Rapid Rise), shifters. cables and housing, Italia saddle, all of which came in at under $1,400. The Rocket Ron 2.4 and 2.25 tires were the only things we couldn't find at a super price. Pedals came off her old bike.

    So all in she paid a little over $3,600. It took a couple of months to source all the parts, but in the end she got tremendous value for the dollars spent. Her previous bike was a top of the line carbon XC Trek (supposedly properly fit) and with the Titus her riding (speed, skills, and enjoyment) have improved over 100%.

    If one is willing to go with the previous years top of the line parts, the savings can be substantial.

    i1dry?
    i completely agree with your philosophy. mine is very similar.

    those that don't know better will buy new and pay retail. let them be.

    but to help the OP - this is the best time of year to buy pieces of the puzzle... 2012 components, particularly 10 speed XX, are going for low $$$ since the introduction of 11 speed drivetrain. no difference in quality. those that want the latest gimmicks will have to pay full price - but if that floats their boat - and can afford it - power to them.

    2012 frames and/or frame sets are up for grabs at nice discounts as well.

    good suggestion i1dry...
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  34. #34
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    now more questioning:

    why do you want FS 29er?

    is your current HT a 29er as well? which one? what components are on it?

    are you opposed to buying 2012 model - new old stock, demo or used?

    are you ok with carbon?



    Quote Originally Posted by marcymarc View Post
    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
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by phlegm View Post
    Some great points made in this thread.

    I'd say though that test rides are BS, and i1dry touches on this point in his post. The problem is that to properly evaluate a bike, you need to have the final fit right.

    That means getting the saddle, seaport, stem, bars set for you, and potentially setting sag, and even tire pressure. Some bike shops may accommodate this a bit before you buy, but many would not, and probably wouldn't fit you on 4 different bikes.

    You could be on the "perfect" bike, but incorrect setup could make it feel like crap.

    I agree with Unglued in that all of the bikes you mention are quality, and assuming you get the frame size right, you will be off to a great start and great fit.

    Some generic things you can look for that aren't fit-specific:
    -Warranty (previously mentioned by Singlesprocket)
    -Any proprietary parts? (Specialized burns me all the time with stuff like 142+)
    -Quality of components, i.e. one has SLX, the other has XT drivetrain
    -Branch office locations, i.e. is warranty work done in Montréal, or have to be shipped to Texas?

    Agreed, process is a huge PITA, but still fun. Exciting times man.
    12x142 is hardly proprietary these days... most wheel manufacturers accommodate almost all standards these days. (Easton, Mavic, Roval, American Classic etc...)

    i have 3 bikes and all have different wheel standards?

    1 is 15QR/9mm
    1 is 15QR/12x142
    1 is 9mm/9mm

    i also have 3 sets of wheels that are completely interchangeable between all 3 bikes.

    same applies to bottom brackets or front derailleurs. if you plan on keeping the bike for over a couple of years - standards don't matter...

    FIT is #1 - and it can be fine tuned - as long as you have the proper frame size - which may depend on the manufacturer... once you narrow down your selection to a couple of bikes - then you nail down the frame size etc... from this perspective - a custom built is always the best, as it allows you to buy PROPER components for your custom fit.

    at your age - i would suggest that you consider a carbon 29er, rather than FS 29er. good quality HT 29ers have a lot of compliance built in their frames and even wheels. for your budget - you can get a very, very good HT bike for your kind of riding, which will be a machine at your weekly race series and occasional 24hr event.

    but i'll wait for the rest of the answers before give you my final suggestion - which will probably be used or demo Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper HT - custom built.
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    12x142 is hardly proprietary these days... most wheel manufacturers accommodate almost all standards these days. (Easton, Mavic, Roval, American Classic etc...)...
    Agreed, but I mentioned 142+. It limits where I can move my rear Roval - and all because of a 2mm proprietary difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    FIT is #1 - and it can be fine tuned - as long as you have the proper frame size - which may depend on the manufacturer...
    Agree 100%, and if nothing else, the OP shouldn't sweat the "test ride" too much. As long as you start with a good frame (both in quality and fit) you'll be fine.


    My point is that the "test ride" is a complete crock. It's not long enough to learn anything, i.e. parking lot, or 5-minute test, and there's no way you'll have the fit dialed in. It just doesn't amount to much.

  37. #37
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    Good questions Oggie. A little late to the party here but especially at 5'4 I would be considering a 26 when looking at a FS bike. Maybe even better deals to be had because they are currently (going) out of fashion(?).

    I personally started riding 26 again in 2012 on both a rigid SS and 4" full suspension bike. The rigid SS is nowhere near as fast or comfortable as its 29er counterpart. But the FS gives up very little (if anything) as far as I can tell with the smaller wheels, while probably saving a couple of pounds and much of that rotational, in addition to being slightly more maneuverable.

    This appears to be a minority view now (oh what a difference a few short years make) but remember in 2006 a lot of the people trying to sell you those bikes would have said fitting somebody your size on a 29er of any variety was preposterous.

    All that being said, the bike is a small piece of the puzzle. You can learn to ride any bike effectively, but some will make it easier than others. And no matter how perfect your bike choice may be, you will want another one anyway. Probably soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    now more questioning:

    why do you want FS 29er?

    is your current HT a 29er as well? which one? what components are on it?

    are you opposed to buying 2012 model - new old stock, demo or used?

    are you ok with carbon?

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by veteran_youth View Post
    Good questions Oggie. A little late to the party here but especially at 5'4 I would be considering a 26 when looking at a FS bike. Maybe even better deals to be had because they are currently (going) out of fashion(?).

    I personally started riding 26 again in 2012 on both a rigid SS and 4" full suspension bike. The rigid SS is nowhere near as fast or comfortable as its 29er counterpart. But the FS gives up very little (if anything) as far as I can tell with the smaller wheels, while probably saving a couple of pounds and much of that rotational, in addition to being slightly more maneuverable.

    This appears to be a minority view now (oh what a difference a few short years make) but remember in 2006 a lot of the people trying to sell you those bikes would have said fitting somebody your size on a 29er of any variety was preposterous.

    All that being said, the bike is a small piece of the puzzle. You can learn to ride any bike effectively, but some will make it easier than others. And no matter how perfect your bike choice may be, you will want another one anyway. Probably soon.
    Maki, what about a 650b? Would that be a viable option?

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enduramil View Post
    Maki, what about a 650b? Would that be a viable option?
    Short answer....not yet.

    Long answer, yes but for this class of bike only if you are willing to do some tinkering and spend money trying stuff out and probably build the bike from scratch or switch a bunch of parts on a new bike at sale. So while it might work for the riding style of the OP the original post itself would probably lead me to believe that for simplicity's sake a straight 26 would be the way to go.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by veteran_youth View Post
    Short answer....not yet.
    So you say wait a year till forks and such catch up.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enduramil View Post
    So you say wait a year till forks and such catch up.
    no.

    he said NOT YET...

    that is not "wait a year till..."

    that is NOT YET.

    ok now?

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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by veteran_youth View Post
    Good questions Oggie. A little late to the party here but especially at 5'4 I would be considering a 26 when looking at a FS bike. Maybe even better deals to be had because they are currently (going) out of fashion(?).

    I personally started riding 26 again in 2012 on both a rigid SS and 4" full suspension bike. The rigid SS is nowhere near as fast or comfortable as its 29er counterpart. But the FS gives up very little (if anything) as far as I can tell with the smaller wheels, while probably saving a couple of pounds and much of that rotational, in addition to being slightly more maneuverable.

    This appears to be a minority view now (oh what a difference a few short years make) but remember in 2006 a lot of the people trying to sell you those bikes would have said fitting somebody your size on a 29er of any variety was preposterous.

    All that being said, the bike is a small piece of the puzzle. You can learn to ride any bike effectively, but some will make it easier than others. And no matter how perfect your bike choice may be, you will want another one anyway. Probably soon.
    that's why i went back to 26" wheels on the bandits, plus for some reason the 26" handled and had better traction with the studs on ice then the 29er with a similar nokians (which surprised me).
    broadcasting from
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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by singlesprocket View Post
    that's why i went back to 26" wheels on the bandits, plus for some reason the 26" handled and had better traction with the studs on ice then the 29er with a similar nokians (which surprised me).
    It doesn't surprise me that the traction would be better on ice with 26...both the 26 and 29 use the same amount of studs, which means they're spaced closer on the 26's
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  44. #44
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    Sounds like you ride alot already. What aspects in terms of fit don't you like on your current bike? Example... I feel like I'm really reaching for handlebars. Or I feel the bike slow in maneuvering... note these things. Read up on how different dimensions affect these characteristics.

    I know for me for mountain bikes, I'm looking at effective top tubes around 22.5" long. I'm also paying attention to angles of seat post, and head tube, as well as chain stay clearance. Once I know these numbers, I start going through all the manufacturer's websites and see what the dimensions are for their offerings.

    Then find test rides. Either borrow friends or shops. For the 2011 Rocky Mountain Element Team RSL, it was brand new in 2010 when I ordered it. No one had one, so I ordered it strictly by spreadsheet analysis and the website numbers.

    In my opinion if you are budget crunched, I would watch pinkbike.com like a hawk. Go to Trek Toronto store see what bikes they have from last year that were demos or sponsored riders, or wait till bike show and pick one up.

    I remember seeing top of the line XTR everything Trek Elite 9.9s and other similar level bikes for like 3200 + tax. You get carbon everything, top of the line everything and warranty...

    that is a deal!

  45. #45
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    Ah winter in Eastern Canada.

  46. #46
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    Sorry about lagging in the responses. I just moved back to university from the winter break..
    Looks like you guys have been busy while I have been moving!
    Note: according to my drivers licence it says im about 5ft4 but it seemed short so after measuring myself i am 5ft6 sorry for the confusion
    Circlip - thank you for clearing up the question about the anthems!

    A couple of you guys have brought up the point of DIY builds. I love to tinker and build things but given my limited free time (I am in a FT engineering program in university) i do not have the time to constantly scan the internet for deals on fames and componentry. Another reason iv avoided this topic is i would still consider myself a newbie in the world knowing all the latest and greatest types of componentry. It would require loads of time to educate myself enough to purchase the correct parts that give the best fit. Im hoping to one day build my bike but it will probably not be the case for the bike im looking to purchase.

    I currently ride a stock gary fisher Piranha. its a HT 26" bike. (note its not the ugly copper color) Gary Fisher Piranha Review - BikeRadar
    There is nothing wrong with this bike. I feel like its done its purpose which was introduce me into the cycling sport and provided me with 100s if not thousands of hours of fun.
    I want to upgrade to something more competitive.

    to answer questions:
    why do you want FS 29er?
    I have a HT and am not selling it so id like a FS,,, and 29... well i was just going with the trend.
    is your current HT a 29er as well? which one? what components are on it?
    Its a 26. gary Fisher Piranha, 27-speed SRAM X5 and Shimano M486 hydraulic discs, Rock Shox Tora SL. Gary Fisher Piranha Review - BikeRadar
    are you opposed to buying 2012 model - new old stock, demo or used?
    Not at all but i would like to establish a relationship with a LBS. If i find a great deal on a used then i would consider it.
    are you ok with carbon?
    I love the idea. For my price range typically to get a carbon FS my componentry isnt the greatest comparitivly to aluminum components. Also in my race series iv seen a rider fall on a competitors Carbon bike and it cracked at 2 points in the top and bottom tubes in a magnitude that the bike was un ridable. If this happened to me I would literally would be out of luck since i am investing the majority of my savings into a new bike.

    AndrewTO - your exactly right. All the bike i test rode last year are now obsolete because this years models have come out. The conbination that i am car-less and in school i am really limited on how much i can travel to demos. Also the 2 companys that had reoccuring demos was Specialized. In my race series they brought in trek which i tried. They were going to bring in scott but that fell through but i feel like those types of demos will b the best indication of what bike i feel most comfortable on.

    Some one mentioned the TO bike show in march.. great idea. I will most likely attend this if i dont have midterms and see what i can find there. Not sure if there is a point in battling crowds to try to test ride each in a small test ride area for a comparison but it may happen.

    phlegm- you have picked out one flaw i agree with in the demoing bike dept regarding parking lots etc.. I will have to travel to bike demos on trails if i havnt found anything before then.

    Im happy on 26 so the debates on going back to 26 are only complicating things. Is it wrong to just go to 29 because it seems like its the way everyone is going? (spec epic and im sure other bikes only come in the option for 29 if u buy new) I have been offered great deals for 2011 and 2012 models that r 26ers but I had concluded that i would go 29 because id be hearing it from all the other riders on how 29er is faster (do not mean to start another debate between the 2)

    Cheers!- those are good points. I havnt really had enough experience with top tubes on other bikes for example to know what does and doesnt work. the bike i ride i do not have problems with if anything id say possibly the top tube was to long but i just slid the saddle forward and found it helped. I will figure out this measurement and apply it to my research.
    Correct me if im wrong but part of them fitting me to a bike would include these considerations would it not.

    Thank you for the help i think i have addressed all questions in the little time i have between my classes. I appreciate the experience you guys are sharing!

  47. #47
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    The bike shop's ability to fit you on a bike is largely dependent on the experience and skill of the sales staff. You might get luck and the owner of the store (who might be a fellow racer or coach) is selling you the bike and can help you out tons. On the other hand you may be unlucky and get a really young kid working minimum wage after cool to help with the floor.

    Only you really know how you feel on the bike. All the sales staff can do (unless going for a professional fit session). Is eyeball how tall you are about. Know... hrm... ya... someone who is 5'6" or 6" tall should ride X or Y. That is it.

    I've had 2 RETUL sessions done where I was professionally fitted. Still to this date I fiddle around with positioning (partly because I like to upgrade/change parts all the time).

    In my opinion if you are not a snob and have to ride band X or have loyalty for brand Y because of marketing. Then there is nothing wrong with getting the best deal on best equipped bike. The Trek Toronto store sells killer deals on previously ridden/raced top of the line bikes. I even thought about buying one and stripping it component for component and ebay all the parts individually. I would turn a tidy profit.

  48. #48
    I wonder why?
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    Marcymarc, I know you don't want to build yourself, but if you really want to go with a 29er, here's a really sweet deal on a carbon frame for only about US$1,365.00: Titus carbon rockstar preorder offer | Products | News - Bringing FAT bike love to YOU

    But you have to pre-order by Wednesday night. You never know, some of us here might even help out with the sourcing of the required components.

    Good luck, whatever you choose!

    i1dry?
    ...some drink from the fountain of knowledge..some only gargle...!!

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by veteran_youth View Post
    Short answer....not yet.

    Long answer, yes but for this class of bike only if you are willing to do some tinkering and spend money trying stuff out and probably build the bike from scratch or switch a bunch of parts on a new bike at sale. So while it might work for the riding style of the OP the original post itself would probably lead me to believe that for simplicity's sake a straight 26 would be the way to go.
    Speaking of 650b and versatile frames. How do you like the Chamolen frame?

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enduramil View Post
    Speaking of 650b and versatile frames. How do you like the Chamolen frame?
    Keep it on topic! Haven't ridden the frame yet.

    And to contribute another thought to the actual conversation, as unlikely as it is to be read buried here, I would advise OP not to get too caught up in model years and component choices. There is really no such thing as obsolete, only less new. A good product remains a good product until it fails. The difference in on-trail performance between XT and SLX is negligible. If anything prioritize a nice light wheelset.

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