Fairly new to MTB and need some opinions related to 29ers- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Fairly new to MTB and need some opinions related to 29ers

    I hope it's okay to post this here. Apologize in advance for the length.

    I'm fairly new to mountain biking. I have ridden and raced road bikes for a few years and have done triathlons for a couple (including an Ironman and several half Ironman races). I have a single speed Gary Fisher MTB and an old Trek Single Track 930. I've been using both of these to learn the dirt side of things. Been having a blast but am ready to get a better setup.

    A friend is selling a 2010 Gary Fisher X-Caliber 29er. It is barely used. He mostly used it as a first bike to train for triathlons and then got a tri bike, so it's been gathering dust for a couple years. It looks almost new. He's selling for $700. I think it listed for just under $1600 new.

    I test rode it and liked it pretty well. It was way better than what I have now. Shifted great. Brakes were good (except they squeaked at times). It was way easier to get over obstacles and roots and rocks than with my Trek. I wasn't overwhelmed with the ride quality, though. I think I may have had the tire pressure too high at 40psi. Part way through the ride I let some air out and it did feel better plus more stable in corners.

    My question related to this bike is can I improve the ride by changing to tubeless? I've read/heard I can run quite a bit less air pressure, so I thought that might help make it smoother.

    I'm also considering 29er FS new and used. I don't want to spend more than $2k out the door. Nothing much I can find used. A few options new that run very close to $2k. Kona Hei Hei, Specialized Camber, Scott Spark 960, GT Sensor, Jamis XCR Sport. May be a couple others. The best I can tell all these are reasonably close in specs.

    I'm 41 and have an artificial hip, so comfort is a concern. I'm wondering if the deal on the GF X-Caliber is too good to pass up in lieu of spending nearly 3x on a new FS. I've yet to demo a FS but plan on it very soon. Just wanted to get some knowledge and opinions. I've overthought this to death, so I'm just looking for guidance.

    Oh, and terrain varies a lot here. Lots of single track, some smooth, some rocky/rooty, climbing, etc. I don't plan on racing hard care. I may do some Xterra and some local racing but nothing serious yet.

  2. #2
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    Bike Blue Book is a source for used bike prices. It says the current value of that bike is 671. It has a 80mm Fox fork which should be checked for servicing needs. Bikes are 100mm today.
    Check with area shops for demo days. This is the time of year. Ride some different bikes on trails.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the info. I didn't know that resource existed! I have since demoed some FS 29ers and plan on getting one of those instead. Just trying to make a decision now.

  4. #4
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    Out of those options i would get the Hei Hei, b/c you get best bang for buck. Plus it's 2x10 drivetrain, which i much prefer. Airborne hobgoblin is spec'ed well for that price. I would look into that bike. It has a reba fork for like $1700
    Test ride them and see which feels better(except the airborne, internet only)
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  5. #5
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    Definitely get some demo miles under you, as stated.

    My advice would be to get enough bike. When I bought my first new bike I had an arbitrary ($1000) budget. I got what I wanted, a Trance X4, but ended up upgrading most everything over time. If I'd gone up a rung or two, I'd have saved quite a bit of money in the long run.
    For example there is a tremendous difference in spec between a Giant Anthem X2 29er or the X4, but only about $400 bucks in price, like $1975.00 vs. $2350. Well worth the cost even if a little over your budget.
    Good luck!

  6. #6
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    Give him $500 and a case of beer for the X-Caliber (and make sure he will warranty it for you if it breaks)---then you will get a brand new X-Cal (or even a Superfly frame if that happens...)

    I am sure that fork needs to be serviced (and you are now at the 3 year spot to have to upgrade components...)--

    Get that first (at that price)---then if you need a fully for the hip you can certainly sell it for $500 (especially if you got the fork serviced, new chain, cassette, and tires...)--so you would make your money back on that after riding it for a season.

    Then sell it to someone locally and see if your friend will warranty it for them (to get your $500 back)---but yeah, it is not worth $700 brand new--so you friend is trying to make out on this deal with you.. And that would include the lifetime warranty...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 247 View Post
    Give him $500 and a case of beer for the X-Caliber (and make sure he will warranty it for you if it breaks)---then you will get a brand new X-Cal (or even a Superfly frame if that happens...)

    I am sure that fork needs to be serviced (and you are now at the 3 year spot to have to upgrade components...)--

    Get that first (at that price)---then if you need a fully for the hip you can certainly sell it for $500 (especially if you got the fork serviced, new chain, cassette, and tires...)--so you would make your money back on that after riding it for a season.

    Then sell it to someone locally and see if your friend will warranty it for them (to get your $500 back)---but yeah, it is not worth $700 brand new--so you friend is trying to make out on this deal with you.. And that would include the lifetime warranty...
    Trying to decide between a Scalpel 4 and a Tallboy

  8. #8
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    Thanks for that, JMac.

    Yes, I found a good deal on a Spearfish that I'm very happy with. The X-Cal is going back to its owner today.

    I appreciate everyone's input. Very helpful.

  9. #9
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    I can't say what bike to buy its such a personal choice, what rocks to one will suck to another. test ride some and go from there. I love my giant HT 29er but some might say it blows goats. I built a KHS 29er FS from the ground up, some LBS told me it would suck and their FS bikes are better, I ride it and it handles great, I ride the HT more than the FS but it's there for the days my back hurts. Getting old sucks!
    Giant XTC 2 29er
    KHS Flagstaff 29er FS
    Neon Bow Trials Bike
    Norco Fluid 9.2 29er FS
    Norco BIGFOOT FATTY

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