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Thread: $1,000 xc bike?

  1. #1
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    $1,000 xc bike?

    Looking to upgrade from my old hard rock.... Anything decent for riding/racing around the$1000 mark? I'm pretty big guy so looking for a large durable bike... Not really fat just a big fella. Would appreciate recommendations.
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  2. #2
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    Ok.... Should I just get a frame an build up?
    He who throws mud loses ground.
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    Common knowledge is you can get more bike complete, but building gives you exactly what you want.

    I would check some local classifieds and get something used instead of $1000 new.

  4. #4
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    Tough pricepoint. I think a couple years ago, you still got a name-brand fork. Not anymore, with most brands. The Redline D600 has a Dart, but that's not likely to be a good enough fork that you won't want to replace it. I've never ridden one, so take that FWIW.

    A complete, used bike or a hookup would stretch your buck the furthest.

    If I remember correctly, you already have a Hardrock that's low-spec'd but functional. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with those frames - they're just heavy. Something to consider is whether $1000 worth of components for the Hardrock might bring you to a better spec for your purposes than a bike that costs $1000. You can get nice build kits online. So if you felt you could live with the cockpit and wheels, you could stuff, say, an SLX build kit and a suspension fork inside of the $1000. Or a suspension fork and wheels, and live with the drivetrain.

    It's not a financially efficient way to make a racing bike. But if you pick and choose well, and scour the 'net for good prices, you could take the most limiting factors on your current bike and upgrade them to a level where you won't need to upgrade again later. As long as you're never planning to weight weenie your ride, though, it might make sense - going from a functional Hardrock to a functional $1000 hardtail isn't going to get you into a bike that you won't still find you want to chip away at, IMO.

    I guess what I'm saying is you've already bought once - you have your current bike. If you buy a $1000 hardtail, you'll be buying twice. And then if you spend money upgrading that bike, you'll be buying three times. At least (again, provided you can pick a couple choice upgrades for the Hardrock) if you spend the money on your current ride, you only buy twice.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    So you think the hard rock is worth upgrading? It's a 2006. I do like the fit... Need to get the handle bars a lil more out front.

    I was looking at the GT Avalanche and Gary fisher hoo koo. Or maybe a stump jumper... I'm just getting in to racing and plan to run my first in September. I will be riding the hard rock that race to test the waters. I won't consider making a purchase until I've raced a time or two. I've got no issue with upgrading my current rig if it's worth the $$.
    He who throws mud loses ground.
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  6. #6
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    Change the way you think about a bicycle

    What I try to get the kids on my team to understand is that a bike is not so much a final product but a focus for parts at a specific time. In the wide world of our sport there really aren't that many people who could go out and build their perfect bike. Most of us sort of muddle along over time until we finally figure out what works for us, in our locale, within our budget, and within our skills.

    Over the years I have had to manage numerous bicycles under my son, first for riding, then for racing. I kept up with growth rates by moving seats and changing stems until he outgrew a frame and then moving to the next bike and doing it all over again from the time he was 3 until he was about 14. Once he got to that point it started to make sense to improve certain aspects of a standard machine.

    An early Hardrock got mechanical disc brakes and new wheels. These transferred to his next bike which acquired a Thompson seatpost which he won and some carbon riser bars which were a treat. These last two goodies went on to a much lighter Specialized M2 frame with some new DT Swiss/ Chris King wheels and the brakes. XT components followed as I came across them at a good price. A takeoff Bontrager Carbon crankset was added as well as a beautiful Fox shock, both at real bargain prices. That made a front disc, Magura, possible.

    When he got to a very competitive point and outgrew the M2 I bought a Yeti Arc frame for a much better near-adult fit and a more compliant feel. This got an XTR crank and a rear disc brake to complete the Magura set. I popped for a light race saddle and some carbon bars. In the end we had quite a machine. As you can see while all the parts ended up in one place they were accumulated over time.

    The Hardrock is a relatively heavy frame. However as a big man that really isn't much of an issue. You have $1000. I see a nice set of handbuilt wheels in your future and perhaps a fancier shock than the one you have. That will take you a long way in terms of the enjoyment of your sport. This may be the first step to a really high quality bike. Down the road you may run into a bit more money and might want to buy a better frame.

    It is very unlikely that you will be able to find a bike for $1000 that will take you in the right direction. People always pop off about how you can get great deals on craigslist.Used bikes take a lot of skill to find and assess. Building with components that you know are fresh and strong, something you cannot know when purchasing used, builds integrity into your bike system.

    Good luck
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    Last edited by Berkeley Mike; 06-20-2011 at 10:14 AM.
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    Yeah I kinda wondered if that was a good direction. I'm not super wealthy or anything but I could come up with the money for a top end bike pretty easy. I'm just not ready to put that much money down at this point. This just started as a way to get in shape and spend more time outside. As if backpacking, hunting, fishing, and paddling wasn't enough. Then I decided I missed competion of some sort and liked the goal setting racing provided. My main focus is getting this 30 year old body in shape and finding a bike to compliment those goals. I don't really think my current bike is going to make a lot of difference in a cat 3 race but I would like to progress my equipment for my big goal. To finish the 50 mile syllamo revenge! I may never race again after it but I've decided to do it and plan on getting it done. Not win. Just finish. Small I know. I plan to ride a couple of local 10 mile races first.
    He who throws mud loses ground.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fat Clyde View Post
    So you think the hard rock is worth upgrading? It's a 2006. I do like the fit... Need to get the handle bars a lil more out front.
    I hope so. I race an '07.

    This is its current setup, after putting on a new set of wheels.


    bww wheels 011 by Andrew183, on Flickr

    Not much of the stock build is left. But I'd consider almost all of the upgrades to be "terminal," at least for the life of the component. The fork may be an exception, but I fear I'm reaching the life of the component in that case too. So maybe it's not such an exception. I'd like to cannibalize it and build up a lighter frame, but honestly I don't think it's as problematic as the fit on my road bike, or the crank on my 'cross bike, or...

    My attitude about stems is that used and takeoff is the way to go. It takes some experimentation to find the right one. Better to experiment on a $10 or $20 part than the $100+ that some stems cost at retail.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I hope so. I race an '07.

    This is its current setup, after putting on a new set of wheels.


    bww wheels 011 by Andrew183, on Flickr

    Not much of the stock build is left. But I'd consider almost all of the upgrades to be "terminal," at least for the life of the component. The fork may be an exception, but I fear I'm reaching the life of the component in that case too. So maybe it's not such an exception. I'd like to cannibalize it and build up a lighter frame, but honestly I don't think it's as problematic as the fit on my road bike, or the crank on my 'cross bike, or...

    My attitude about stems is that used and takeoff is the way to go. It takes some experimentation to find the right one. Better to experiment on a $10 or $20 part than the $100+ that some stems cost at retail.
    What made the biggest difference? Upgrading pedals to candy this week.
    He who throws mud loses ground.
    -Fat Albert

  10. #10
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    Probably the suspension fork. This bike came with an RST Gila. I thought I was just not choosing lines very well, or lightening up the front end enough going over roots, but when the RST quit compressing, I replaced it with the Manitou and found it tracked much, much better, compressed when I hit things, etc. This fork actually helps me! When I later rode a rigid, I came to the conclusion that the RST had been making the bike ride worse than a rigid would have.

    I've tinkered with my riding position on this bike a lot. I think that makes a really big difference. The saddle was my favorite in college, and I actually have a saved search going on EBay for it - I really like it, and would like to replace a second one that I broke, and maybe even put a third on my road bike. The bars and stem are not original, and are part of setting up the bike with my preferred position. While bar ends are not fashionable lately, I often use them to sprint, climb, or cruise on roads.

    I really like clipless pedals. I really like those specific clipless pedals, actually - Time ATAC Aliums. Cheap, heavy, very durable, very reliable. I do think there's a lot of value in learning to handle a bike on flats, though. I'm a lot smoother for having practiced my bunnyhop on flats than I was when I relied on the pedals to pull the bike up.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    Great post Berkeley Mike.
    Comas aren't as fun as riding your bike, so wear a Helmet.

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    MHO, if your budget is in the $1000 range and you like the hardrock, then specialized makes some good bikes. If going from a hardrock, I'd go to a new Rockhopper 29er at MSRP of $990. Being a bigger guy you may really like the 29er. Even small guys like me are moving towards bigger wheels.

    You should be able to get a fairly new used HT stumpjumper in that price range and I recently sold two 2008 stumpjumper FSR's for $1300 each.

    However, if you are racing then you might consider waiting till you can afford $2000 and then lighter HT bikes that can be a race and every day bike fall in that range used and even some new. Sometimes 4 year old S-Works ($7k-8k new) fall into the $2k range.

  13. #13
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    Try racing a 35lb f/s KHS if you want heavy... ...my last race, I lined up next to a guy on a (he claimed) 20.5lb S-Works. Quite a bit of a disadvantage for me right off the bat!

    I have the kind of bike that I don't plan on upgrading save for wheels. This is my first year racing so I just got a decent f/s bike that was well under my budget that would get me through the year and get my feet wet into racing. I've got a few hundred miles on the bike and actually really like it, but it's just too heavy to be worth upgrading. Next year I plan on selling it and buying a much lighter f/s bike in the $2.5k - $3k range.

    My buddy had a Hardrock and upgraded it quite a bike (XTR components, Fox shock) and then recently bought a lightly used Stumpjumper Comp and swapped components. He loves the Stumpjumper and says that with them both spec'd out similarly, he's faster and more comfortable on the Stumpjumper... so ergonomics and geometry played a big part in the upgrade for him. Something that you might want to consider as well.


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBRsteve View Post
    Try racing a 35lb f/s KHS if you want heavy... ...my last race, I lined up next to a guy on a (he claimed) 20.5lb S-Works. Quite a bit of a disadvantage for me right off the bat!

    I have the kind of bike that I don't plan on upgrading save for wheels. This is my first year racing so I just got a decent f/s bike that was well under my budget that would get me through the year and get my feet wet into racing. I've got a few hundred miles on the bike and actually really like it, but it's just too heavy to be worth upgrading. Next year I plan on selling it and buying a much lighter f/s bike in the $2.5k - $3k range.

    My buddy had a Hardrock and upgraded it quite a bike (XTR components, Fox shock) and then recently bought a lightly used Stumpjumper Comp and swapped components. He loves the Stumpjumper and says that with them both spec'd out similarly, he's faster and more comfortable on the Stumpjumper... so ergonomics and geometry played a big part in the upgrade for him. Something that you might want to consider as well.

    Hmm...you and your bike look featherweight to me..ha Were you able to float all the way to the finish like that?

    Oh..and @Berkley Mike...good poast dude...again..

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    Yeah I kinda like the tote the note method on components... May just add nice componets an swap them over to a new frame eventually. I'm sure it's more cost efficient to just buy new complete but sometimes it's easier to eat elephant one bit at a time.
    He who throws mud loses ground.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydbyk View Post
    Hmm...you and your bike look featherweight to me..ha Were you able to float all the way to the finish like that?

    Oh..and @Berkley Mike...good poast dude...again..
    Unfortunately no, just a good photo opp... when you're languishing at the "back of mid-pack" you need to do something to make your entry fee worthwhile.

  17. #17
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    I have an 07 rockhopper with 1x9 XT and other lightweight bits as a second bike

    honestly, the weight weenie Race only mentality only goes so far.

    The rockhopper is a GOOD quality relatively light durable time tested Hardtail frame.

    unless you really want a FS bike, I wouldnt waste your time or money with a newer flashy hardtail.

    spend the $1000 on a good fork, a set of wheels, and maybe upgrade your drivetrain as you break parts (you will)

    I had no problems with riding the rockhopper really fast. besides, a newer rockhopper is basically a 3 year old stumpjumper anyway due to trickle down technology.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Tough pricepoint. I think a couple years ago, you still got a name-brand fork. Not anymore, with most brands. The Redline D600 has a Dart, but that's not likely to be a good enough fork that you won't want to replace it. I've never ridden one, so take that FWIW.

    A complete, used bike or a hookup would stretch your buck the furthest.

    If I remember correctly, you already have a Hardrock that's low-spec'd but functional. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with those frames - they're just heavy. Something to consider is whether $1000 worth of components for the Hardrock might bring you to a better spec for your purposes than a bike that costs $1000. You can get nice build kits online. So if you felt you could live with the cockpit and wheels, you could stuff, say, an SLX build kit and a suspension fork inside of the $1000. Or a suspension fork and wheels, and live with the drivetrain.

    It's not a financially efficient way to make a racing bike. But if you pick and choose well, and scour the 'net for good prices, you could take the most limiting factors on your current bike and upgrade them to a level where you won't need to upgrade again later. As long as you're never planning to weight weenie your ride, though, it might make sense - going from a functional Hardrock to a functional $1000 hardtail isn't going to get you into a bike that you won't still find you want to chip away at, IMO.

    I guess what I'm saying is you've already bought once - you have your current bike. If you buy a $1000 hardtail, you'll be buying twice. And then if you spend money upgrading that bike, you'll be buying three times. At least (again, provided you can pick a couple choice upgrades for the Hardrock) if you spend the money on your current ride, you only buy twice.
    I think right now that upgrading makes the most sense. It's easy to find a good or fair deal on a used bike but even a great deal on a well spec'd racing rig that's a few years old could still run you over 1k. But, it never hurts to look around. You never know what you'll find.

    If you can't find a good deal on a used bike you can always upgrade the fork and wheels for around 1k. Stans makes a pretty light wheelset(I forget the exact model name) for around $500 and sometimes you can find last years Rock Shox Sid and Reba models
    for around or just under $500 as well. Good luck.
    build a man a fire keep him warm for a day, set a man on fire keep him warm for the rest of his life.

  19. #19
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    You can see anthems that are a 2 years old going for around 1k for a complete bike. Some cost a few hundred more, but it's possible to find one.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

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    Where I live, you can buy a hell of a used bike for near the $1k mark. My buddy just scored a like new 2010 Orbea Lanza with all XT/XTR parts + XT wheelset for $999. It does take time and patience but good deals can be found (thought that one was exceptionally good). $800 would easily get you something light years ahead of your current bike at least in the used market here in Austin. Even if something breaks (including the frame), you're likely to come out way ahead of buying new.

    Another option if you have the money and time, it's sometimes worth buying an entire bike for a single part on it. Example, you find a really good deal on a bike with a nice set of wheels. Swap those wheels out with your current ones, then sell the bike for what you bought it for. No $$$ lost on your part, and you've saved $400+.

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