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  1. #1
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    Best mountain bike under $500

    I am looking for a solid entry level mountain bike wth disk brakes. Originally I wanted to get a mountain bike under $400. I looked at the Trek 3700 Disk, Norco Mountaineer, GT Outpost Disk, I decided not to get either of those bikes. If I was to increase my budget to $500, would I be able to find a much better bike. I am looking at the following bikes.

    Specialized Hardrock Disk
    Giant Revel 1
    Fuji Nevada 2.0
    Jamis Trail X2

    I assume that all of these are freehub/cassette . Is there one clearly better than the other?

    The Hardrock seems to be the most popular one. If there are any other solid bikes under $500, please list them also.

  2. #2
    GO JIMMIE!!
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    I can voice my opinion for the Revel 1 as I just bought one a few weeks ago. Worth the price I paid with pretty good components. Rides very well. Only thing I want to upgrade now is the stock braking system to Avid BB7s. This is just a personal preference as the stock stoppers work good. Over time I will probably put on a better fork and upgrade to a 9 speed SRAM setup.
    My Bike: '03 Specialized HardRock FrankenBike
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  3. #3
    clown question, bro
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    One that is not on your list but is right around that price range is the Felt Q520. I picked up a 2010 towards the end of last fall to get into mountain biking after being a BMXer for years and I'm now addicted.

    If you go that route, though... get a new seat right away. Their seats are awful.

  4. #4
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    How much of a hurry are you in to buy?

    Bikes are kind of like cars, when the 2012s come out, the 2011s will drop in price significantly, some store will drop the price 25%. Even though the year isn't even half over yet, it could be worth waiting if you are in no hurry. That said, many stores around here, San Francisco, still have 2010s in stock; in some cases even 2009 which might be as much as 40% off.

    Another bike to toss in your list would be Marin Pioneer Trail, optional disc brakes for $60 SRP more than the V-brake model.

  5. #5
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    I had a Hardrock disc for years and loved every second of it! Coming off the hardrock I really didnt like how steep the Jamis was, but thats all personal preference. I dont know too much about the others, but definitely check out the felt, those are solid! Ride it before you buy it too!

  6. #6
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    I can vouch for the Revel 1. I bought if for my son last fall and it is a nice bike. I've ridden it around a few times and am impressed with it. For comparison I ride a 08 Cannondale Rush which is heavily upgraded. Not saying its as good obviously, but its a nice ride. My oldest son has a Hardrock from a few years ago and I like the Revel better. Although that is possibly just because bikes are getting better for the money nowdays. The hardrock was nice when we bought it and its still serving him.

  7. #7
    Jason
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    Personally, I'm a fan of the Trek 4300. I've seen the 2010 models for as low as $425.00. They're solid bikes and worth upgrading when o.e. parts start to wear out.
    Jason
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    The bicycle; the noble invention that saves my health, inside...and out.

  8. #8
    GO JIMMIE!!
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    4300 comes with V-Brakes. I wouldn't consider any bike without disc.
    My Bike: '03 Specialized HardRock FrankenBike
    My Blog: http://http://kona0197.wordpress.com/

  9. #9
    I4NI
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    Giant Revel 1 gets my vote.
    There....Are... Four...Lights!

  10. #10
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    Honestly, if I had $500 to spend on a bike, I would buy used. There are plenty of GOOD bikes on craigslist that can be had for less than $500. Stumpjumpers, 6-8000 series Trek, etc. are head and shoulder above your listed bikes. Those bikes come with bottom-of-the-barrel components, and with used, you'll be getting LX/XT/maybe XTR components. And disc brakes shouldn't be a big concern. I do like disc brakes, but I still run v-brakes on my Stumpjumper with no complaints.

    Just take a bike-nerd friend with you and you should be able to land yourself a nice bike for that price.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by p nut
    Honestly, if I had $500 to spend on a bike, I would buy used. There are plenty of GOOD bikes on craigslist that can be had for less than $500. Stumpjumpers, 6-8000 series Trek, etc. are head and shoulder above your listed bikes. Those bikes come with bottom-of-the-barrel components, and with used, you'll be getting LX/XT/maybe XTR components. And disc brakes shouldn't be a big concern. I do like disc brakes, but I still run v-brakes on my Stumpjumper with no complaints.

    Just take a bike-nerd friend with you and you should be able to land yourself a nice bike for that price.
    I agree, at that price it's better to look for a used, quality bike. Do your homework and you can find a killer deal!

  12. #12
    GO JIMMIE!!
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    Honestly, if I had $500 to spend on a bike, I would buy used.
    And you have to deal with a frame near the end of it's life and prone to breaking along with components that may need replacing in short while. New is better.
    My Bike: '03 Specialized HardRock FrankenBike
    My Blog: http://http://kona0197.wordpress.com/

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197
    And you have to deal with a frame near the end of it's life and prone to breaking along with components that may need replacing in short while. New is better.
    How many frames have you been through? How do you know if a frame is "near the end of it's life"?

    I have a 93 Rockhopper, 99 Stumpjumper that are SOLID. Zero problems. I'd trust those frames as much as I trust my new El Mariachi and On One frames. Just look over the frame and make sure there is no damage. More than half of the bikes I see for sale are ones that have been ridden very seldom and just hanging in the garage.

    I quickly browsed through the classifieds here and this seemed like a good deal:

    http://classifieds.mtbr.com/showprod...t=64514&cat=38

    You'd be paying taxes on a bike from a shop, so the price difference bewteen this bike and a $500 store bike isn't that much. And it's all set up to go singlespeed with the rear sliders, if you ever want to try that in the future (I strongly recommend!) No affiliation with the seller.
    Last edited by p nut; 05-23-2011 at 12:33 PM.

  14. #14
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    If you decide to buy new, I vote for the Revel. Giant always seems to have the most bike for the money, and lately they've really made their bikes look nice too. But I also suggest at least looking around for something used. You will get a higher end bike even though it is older. I sold my 2010 Giant Yukon (msrp $650 I believe) for $375 on Craigslist June of 2010 (I had if for almost a whole year though). So you can find some good deals. Just do your research and ask around if you have any questions.
    Mountain bikers who don't road ride have no legs...
    Road riders who don't mountain bike have no soul...

  15. #15
    stalker
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    I'm glad I took the advice and rode whatever I could. In my price range, I narrowed it down to a Hardrock Disc (which I ended up buying) and the Jamis X2. They were both solid bikes, but it reminded me of driving a Chevy, then a Ford. Nearly comparable, but one just "felt right".

    Btw, I love my hardrock.
    Bark less, wag more

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaxAR
    I'm glad I took the advice and rode whatever I could. In my price range, I narrowed it down to a Hardrock Disc (which I ended up buying) and the Jamis X2. They were both solid bikes, but it reminded me of driving a Chevy, then a Ford. Nearly comparable, but one just "felt right".

    Btw, I love my hardrock.
    Chevy's the way to go
    Mountain bikers who don't road ride have no legs...
    Road riders who don't mountain bike have no soul...

  17. #17
    stalker
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    Quote Originally Posted by sasquatch rides a SS
    Chevy's the way to go
    Well, yes...I have one of those too
    Bark less, wag more

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaxAR
    Well, yes...I have one of those too
    Good
    Mountain bikers who don't road ride have no legs...
    Road riders who don't mountain bike have no soul...

  19. #19
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    Comparing the Hardrock and the Revel on paper, the Revel seems clearly superior to me -- the fork has more travel and more resale value and I suspect it performs better, the shifters are substantially better quality and the rear derr. is better, the head angle is a little slacker for better downhill performance. I'm no expert on beginner bikes, but I don't see anything on the Hardrock that I like better than the Giant. But, balanced against that, I agree the Specialized is more popular so all things being equal it might be easier to sell when/if you decide to upgrade.

    So I'd vote Revel over Hardrock, unless you got to testride them both and decided you just like the Hardrock better, or unless you find a better deal used. I didn't look at the other two.

  20. #20
    Jason
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197
    4300 comes with V-Brakes. I wouldn't consider any bike without disc.
    The 4300 is available with discs. They had two disc versions at my lbs when I purchased one.
    Jason
    ____________________________________________
    The bicycle; the noble invention that saves my health, inside...and out.

  21. #21
    Jason
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    This is the 2011 version. Last years version came with disc also.
    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...ies/4300_disc#
    Jason
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    The bicycle; the noble invention that saves my health, inside...and out.

  22. #22
    GO JIMMIE!!
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    Funny. In my thread about what I should buy last month people steered me away from buying a lightly used '99 Stumpjumper FSR in favor of getting something new. Now it seems opinions are reversed.
    My Bike: '03 Specialized HardRock FrankenBike
    My Blog: http://http://kona0197.wordpress.com/

  23. #23
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    diamondback response sport or overdrive- both great bikes for the price- look into them

  24. #24
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    I would have to go with Diamondback also. You should read the specs on the current model. I find it to be pretty great. This articles talks about it:

    Top 3 Mountain Bikes | Device Raters

  25. #25
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    The Airborne Skyhawk is a pretty darn good bike for $350. They are going to sell out soon. A friend of mine has this bike and they run a little big...keep that in mind if you are going to order.

    Airborne Bicycles. Skyhawk

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