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  1. #1
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    Sucky Bike Or Am I Unaware Of What Broken Is In The Bike World

    I bought a 2013 Marin Pioneer Trail a month ago. I use my bike to ride singletrack at least 2 times a week. Everything was going well the first week, but then in the past few weeks my chain seems to come off more and it's also hitting up against the frame. Additionally, the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd gears don't seem to catch anymore or they slip. Not sure exactly how to describe it. Well, my co-workers weren't having any problems in the meantime. So I started to wonder if it was my bike since they weren't having any of the issues I was having. Considering my bike was $500 and there's are in the $1,000 to $2,000 range. I'm considering purchasing a 2013 Cannondale Trail SL 4 today. My hopes are it will be more durable. My co-worker said everything I experienced is normal. Do you think the bike switch will make a difference? Or is my co-worker correct. Everything I experienced is completely normal and upgrading won't be a better experience. I guess I was also hoping that the front suspension would be smoother also. Any who, opinions anyone?

  2. #2
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    If you just bought it then take it back to the shop. New bikes need adjustments regardless their price. Good luck!

  3. #3
    No Stranger to danger....
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    you bike just needs some simple adjustments, its no big deal at all, cheers
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....

  4. #4
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Was $500 your "real" number? It's usually bad news when people underbuy. I wouldn't consider the SL 4 a very worthwhile replacement, though - you'd just be replacing low-end parts with other low-end parts. Don't do it.

    The drivetrains on new bikes tend to go out of tune during the first month of riding. The housings on the cables tend to bed into their ferrules and the ferrules into the cable stops. This is nicknamed "cable stretch." Which would have the same effect. You need to learn to tune your drivetrain.
    Park Tool Co. ParkTool Blog Rear Derailler Adjustments (derailleur)
    Park Tool Co. ParkTool Blog Front Derailleur Adjustments

    If you're enjoying riding, start putting away some more money and watching Craig's List. IME, there's a huge improvement in drivetrain reliability with the Shimano Deore group. Not sure where that happens with SRAM, so a SRAM fan can chime in there. Suspension should be at least a RockShox Recon or one of the old Toras; someone who knows the other brands will I'm sure have suggestions in Manitou and Marzocchi. (And Fox's lowest-end model is still pretty nice, so that would be a real score.) One of my friends picked up a race-ready Scott hardtail for $600 about a year ago - totally doable, you just need some patience and to let go of "new." Or, wait until you've got about $1500 and don't let go of "new."
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  5. #5
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    Gosh y'all! Lol!!! Y'all are really taking the buzz out of my new bike purchase excitement. I'm happy for your honesty though. I have a lot to learn.

  6. #6
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    Any thoughts on the improvement of front suspension and the disc brakes on the Cannondale? The Marin doesn't have disc brakes. I've tried disc brakes and they are extremely responsive, but I'm not sure if that's a big deal. Thoughts?

  7. #7
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Learn to tune your V-brakes. Also, I don't trust off-brand or rebranded hydros.

    The Cannondale's suspension fork is pretty poorly regarded.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Was $500 your "real" number? It's usually bad news when people underbuy. I wouldn't consider the SL 4 a very worthwhile replacement, though - you'd just be replacing low-end parts with other low-end parts. Don't do it.

    The drivetrains on new bikes tend to go out of tune during the first month of riding. The housings on the cables tend to bed into their ferrules and the ferrules into the cable stops. This is nicknamed "cable stretch." Which would have the same effect. You need to learn to tune your drivetrain.
    Park Tool Co. ParkTool Blog Rear Derailler Adjustments (derailleur)
    Park Tool Co. ParkTool Blog Front Derailleur Adjustments

    If you're enjoying riding, start putting away some more money and watching Craig's List. IME, there's a huge improvement in drivetrain reliability with the Shimano Deore group. Not sure where that happens with SRAM, so a SRAM fan can chime in there. Suspension should be at least a RockShox Recon or one of the old Toras; someone who knows the other brands will I'm sure have suggestions in Manitou and Marzocchi. (And Fox's lowest-end model is still pretty nice, so that would be a real score.) One of my friends picked up a race-ready Scott hardtail for $600 about a year ago - totally doable, you just need some patience and to let go of "new." Or, wait until you've got about $1500 and don't let go of "new."
    I forgot to answer your question. My bike was $499.99 excluding taxes. I was willing to pay for something at REI up to $1,000 - $1,200.

  9. #9
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Give your bike back to REI. That's why you paid retail at Return Every Item. They guarantee your satisfaction yet are unwise enough to carry some pretty unsatisfactory mountain bikes.

    Get the SL 2 for your "real" number. Ride the hell out of it. It has its faults, but it has a "real" suspension fork and name-brand disc brakes.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Give your bike back to REI. That's why you paid retail at Return Every Item. They guarantee your satisfaction yet are unwise enough to carry some pretty unsatisfactory mountain bikes.

    Get the SL 2 for your "real" number. Ride the hell out of it. It has its faults, but it has a "real" suspension fork and name-brand disc brakes.
    LOL @ your comment "Ride the hell out of it."!!!!! I plan to do just that!

  11. #11
    gran jefe
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    the fact that you bought it at REI changes everything. just return it.

    on the other hand, really the only problem with your bike is that the shifter cables have stretched. a normal part of break in on every bike. learn to retension them, and you'll be good to go.

  12. #12
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    Yep, I had the same problem. What you do is grab a screw driver and tighten or loosen those L and H screws by the derailleur and that should fix it. I just adjusted mine yesterday, but messed it up, so now I'm going to buy a new bike because it doesn't shift right and I busted a crank.

  13. #13
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by legking View Post
    Yep, I had the same problem. What you do is grab a screw driver and tighten or loosen those L and H screws by the derailleur and that should fix it.
    I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or if you're just wrong.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  14. #14
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    It sounds like you bought a bike that is way below your level of involvement. Based on the relative price of most bikes and bikes I have worked on as a LBS mechanic, the kind of bike you can get for $500 is going to self-destruct in a few months. It should be fine for riding roads, bike paths, gravel, and the occasional length of singletrack, but as a dedicated XC trails bike, it's not going to last you. It is nice to have a lightweight, smooth-functioning bike, but that comes with a $2000+ pricetag. But you can easily get a solid bike for more like $1000-1500. A $500 is just not going to last on singletrack.

    It does sound like it needs some basic adjustments, about which the salesperson should have advised you when you bought it, and the store where you bought it should provide at least one basic tune-up, if not a lifetime of complimentary tuneups. At least do that, but i would consider trading it in and getting something more reliable.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by uneek78 View Post
    I forgot to answer your question. My bike was $499.99 excluding taxes. I was willing to pay for something at REI up to $1,000 - $1,200.
    Did you buy it from REI? Just take it back (especially if you are a member)... they take almost anything back.

    Most of us here would point you to a used bike from an LBS. For the same price, you get much better value for your money - better components, better bike.... just no "new bike smell".

    -S

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    It sounds like you bought a bike that is way below your level of involvement. Based on the relative price of most bikes and bikes I have worked on as a LBS mechanic, the kind of bike you can get for $500 is going to self-destruct in a few months. It should be fine for riding roads, bike paths, gravel, and the occasional length of singletrack, but as a dedicated XC trails bike, it's not going to last you. It is nice to have a lightweight, smooth-functioning bike, but that comes with a $2000+ pricetag. But you can easily get a solid bike for more like $1000-1500. A $500 is just not going to last on singletrack.

    It does sound like it needs some basic adjustments, about which the salesperson should have advised you when you bought it, and the store where you bought it should provide at least one basic tune-up, if not a lifetime of complimentary tuneups. At least do that, but i would consider trading it in and getting something more reliable.
    Since it started getting dark so early I could only ride on the weekends. I've been getting in about 10 - 20 miles per weekend so far. I can't wait until I can ride several days during the week. I'm already considering night time riding. Lol @ the "the kind of bike you can get for $500 is going to self-destruct in a few months" comment!!!!!!

    Who would have known that riding could be this fun!!! I'm going to do just like AndrwSwitch said and ride the hell out of it!!!

  17. #17
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    ^
    Well, looks like you've ridden the hell out of your $500 bike.

    You can view your choices from this very useful site Mountain Bikes (MTB) | Compare Components, Suspension, and Gearing and use the site's compare tool.

    If you find what you like that's within your budget then check your bikestore if they have it. Make a shortlist of 3 - 5 bikes.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gundam168 View Post
    ^
    Well, looks like you've ridden the hell out of your $500 bike.

    You can view your choices from this very useful site Mountain Bikes (MTB) | Compare Components, Suspension, and Gearing and use the site's compare tool.

    If you find what you like that's within your budget then check your bikestore if they have it. Make a shortlist of 3 - 5 bikes.
    Funny! Thank you very much for the info Gundam168.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by legking View Post
    Yep, I had the same problem. What you do is grab a screw driver and tighten or loosen those L and H screws by the derailleur and that should fix it. I just adjusted mine yesterday, but messed it up, so now I'm going to buy a new bike because it doesn't shift right and I busted a crank.
    What is wrong with you?!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by uneek78 View Post
    Who would have known that riding could be this fun!!! I'm going to do just like AndrwSwitch said and ride the hell out of it!!!
    Did you already exchange your bike? It sounded like you were pretty much ready to pull the trigger when you posted earlier.

    I picked up riding again on a $600 bike. Five years ago, so probably more comparable to the SL 4 than the SL 2 or the Pioneer Trail. It was actually okay for me for a while, since I lived in Manhattan at the time, but the fork seized in a couple weeks. Once I moved to the Pacific Northwest, though, I could almost see the parts melting off it with my increased volume. I think you'll find COO is a lot better on something like the SL 2. And, you'll get that better fork you were asking about. You should be able to be happy with the Recon for pretty much its whole service life, which will be respectable, although you may want to get the fancy damper for it at some point.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Did you already exchange your bike? It sounded like you were pretty much ready to pull the trigger when you posted earlier.

    I picked up riding again on a $600 bike. Five years ago, so probably more comparable to the SL 4 than the SL 2 or the Pioneer Trail. It was actually okay for me for a while, since I lived in Manhattan at the time, but the fork seized in a couple weeks. Once I moved to the Pacific Northwest, though, I could almost see the parts melting off it with my increased volume. I think you'll find COO is a lot better on something like the SL 2. And, you'll get that better fork you were asking about. You should be able to be happy with the Recon for pretty much its whole service life, which will be respectable, although you may want to get the fancy damper for it at some point.
    LOL!!!!!!!! I got the one you advised. Thanks, I'm happy and it hasn't gotten here yet. I'm glad you asked me that "real number" question. Funny, because I kept researching before I bought my bike and so many articles would say a good entry level bike is between $300 - $500. I don't believe these articles fully take into mind those that will truly be riding their bikes on aggressive trails OFTEN. Oh well, you live and you learn.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post

    If you're enjoying riding, start putting away some more money and watching Craig's List. IME, there's a huge improvement in drivetrain reliability with the Shimano Deore group. Not sure where that happens with SRAM, so a SRAM fan can chime in there.
    The bare minimum for an SRAM is the X.5 groupset. It's the equivalent to the base Shimano Deore. If I do a build, my personal minimum is an X.7 if I'm on a tight budget, although you can get come across X.9 pieces on special or off ebay for X.7 prices.

    For example, you can see the differences in the shifters - X.5 shifters use plastic levers while X.7 levers are aluminum. X.9 adds ball bearings, X.0 is lighter and comes with adjustable aluminum levers, and finally XX with carbon adjustable levers and are featherweight.

    I personally prefer the SRAM mechs because of the clear crisp feel of the shifts. The derailleurs are always slightly noiser than their Shimano counterparts but less susceptible to cable stretch over time (probably due to the 1:1 ratio).

    -S

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by uneek78 View Post
    LOL!!!!!!!! I got the one you advised. Thanks, I'm happy and it hasn't gotten here yet. I'm glad you asked me that "real number" question. Funny, because I kept researching before I bought my bike and so many articles would say a good entry level bike is between $300 - $500. I don't believe these articles fully take into mind those that will truly be riding their bikes on aggressive trails OFTEN. Oh well, you live and you learn.
    Congrats - I hope you enjoy the Cannondale. It's a well made bike!

    -S

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    The bare minimum for an SRAM is the X.5 groupset. It's the equivalent to the base Shimano Deore. If I do a build, my personal minimum is an X.7 if I'm on a tight budget, although you can get come across X.9 pieces on special or off ebay for X.7 prices.

    For example, you can see the differences in the shifters - X.5 shifters use plastic levers while X.7 levers are aluminum. X.9 adds ball bearings, X.0 is lighter and comes with adjustable aluminum levers, and finally XX with carbon adjustable levers and are featherweight.

    I personally prefer the SRAM mechs because of the clear crisp feel of the shifts. The derailleurs are always slightly noiser than their Shimano counterparts but less susceptible to cable stretch over time (probably due to the 1:1 ratio).

    -S
    You should have seen what I was going to get then. I did a lot of research and started paying attention more to what was making the price of certain bikes I looked at go up. Then I would research the parts. Look at the ratings here on mtbr.com. And I realized that the price point pretty much seems to match the ratings/quality. For the most part. Not 100% of the time. It's funny, because it's easy when you don't know anything to walk into a store and pick the nicest looking bike. I believe it was meant for me to purchase that bike first and learn what I know now. A little over a month ago I never heard of a derailleur.

    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    Congrats - I hope you enjoy the Cannondale. It's a well made bike!

    -S
    Thanks! I can't wait to ride it!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    The drivetrains on new bikes tend to go out of tune during the first month of riding. The housings on the cables tend to bed into their ferrules and the ferrules into the cable stops. This is nicknamed "cable stretch." Which would have the same effect. You need to learn to tune your drivetrain.
    I love it when a shop owner/staff member says that brand X uses pre-stretched cables so that isn't a worry, ignoring everything else that moves in the equation (the housing side of it). Myself I solve the stretching/bedding the moment I assemble a bike... if you yank on the cable with a lot of pressure, once the thing is anchored to the brake or derailleur, it'll do the stretching and bedding right then and there. Then you loosen the bolt, retighten the cable and then snug up the bolt again. Presto. A month's worth of little stretches accomplished in 1 minute.
    I don't post to generate business for myself or make like I'm better than sliced bread

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