Is there a better <$700 29er than the Guardian?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Is there a better <$700 29er than the Guardian?

    My budget is around $700. I have been riding a 2002 Gary Fisher Mamba.

    I think I have narrowed it down to two options.

    1. The Guardian at $675. Hope the XC28 fork (I weight 210 lbs.) and Tektro hydros are adequate and upgrade as things break.

    or

    2. Get the Diamondback Overdrive at $475 and replace the fork with a Rockshox XC32 TK and be all in for around $650. And, then after a while upgrade the mechanical brake to BB7's.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    My friend has been pretty impressed with his guardian (as have I). Honestly, I can barely tell a difference between it and my '12 Trek Cobia. I think the problem you'll run into with the diamondback is their frames are pretty heavy from what I've read.

  3. #3
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    The local sporting goods store has one of the Overdrive models so I stopped by yesterday to check it out. Didn't feel too heavy to me but then again I am coming from an oversized steel frame with a brick of a fork so I don't have much to compare it to. My current bikes weighs a ton!!

  4. #4
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    Did you or your friend have issues with the FD?

  5. #5
    kmc
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    guardian for my wife

    I recently bought a Guardian for my wife. For the price it is a great bike. It is very heavy, but the front fork feels good and the Tektro brakes work very well for low-end hydraulic units.

    When I was looking around, the component level matched $900-$1000 bikes.

    No problems with the front derailleur, but we are running the stock small block 8 tires and the derailleur is set up with the cage pointing out slightly. Shifts into all front chainrings fine. I could see a problem if you went with bigger/beefier tires.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for sharing, kmc! Good to hear that the Tektro brakes work well.
    Was considering ordering some Nukeproof downhill pads for the brakes after reading about the stock pad issues in wet conditions (another $44)
    Was also thinking of a $45 front derailleur upgrade to an X9 to eliminate any potential rubbing issues, but will give the stock piece a go with the angled mount adjustment.
    Guess my only other concern would be fitment, since I don't know anyone who's riding one of these right now to get a feel for what size works best. From all the research into entry-level bikes these past few weeks, I've yet to see a better value with decent components.

  7. #7
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    I got my guardian a week ago and couldn't be more happy with it. I'm as new to Mountain biking as can be and did not have any issues with assembly and adjusting the derailleurs. This forum and the videos available helped out a bunch and I was able to get the thing to shift smoothly.

    The front Derailleur sat a little too close to the rear tire for me so I decided to switch out the front derailleur to an X7... then I thought since I'm switching out the front I should do the rear also. Had I known about kmc's set up I would have done that.

    as far as fitment goes I was not too sure if I should go with a 16" or 18" frame but after speaking with Eric I got the 18". I'm 5'9" with a 31" inseam and the bike fits me perfectly.

    I have no regrets buying the Guardian and I can't say enough about their customer support! Whenever I called they answered all my questions (even the stupid ones ) and whenever I emailed I got a reply within half an hour.

  8. #8
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    nashbar has the jetstream breezer for $699. Just another choice

  9. #9
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    Linked another comparable. Note the X5 FD, 10spd drivetrain, longer travel fork, bigger rotors, and color options. I have nothing to say about Airbourne because I haven't dealt with them but see many happy customers here on the forum. Ive had a good experience with BD. don't think you can go wrong with any of these

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  10. #10
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    In all my research, I have never found a bike as good (for what I wanted) as the Guardian. That said, you could probably get a better equipped bike at BD, but I like the whole package of what Airborne offers.

  11. #11
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    Love my guardian, i broke the RD when i took a nasty fall so i upgraded to X7 front and rear and converted to a 2x9 setup. I am really enjoying this bike. Geo is perfect and nobody can keep up with me during climbs.

  12. #12
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    Today only until midnight the Overdrive Expert comes out to $360 + shipping from Nashbar with coupon code: 34844

    Nashbar - Mountain Bikes
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  13. #13
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    Good price on that DB overdrive for novice riders! I'd be interested but the component selection falls short for my intentions... the 8sp. cassette gearing seems more suited to 26" wheels w/ their 11-28T range instead of 12-34T; RD & shifter are in the "casual" group w/ slower shifts; mechanical brakes tend to have much less modulation for controlled braking and require more lever movement than a hydraulic system; and the throw-away pogo-stick undamped fork w/ aluminum lower section that's prone to locking up during winter rides all equate to spending alot more on upgrades.
    If I weren't opposed to more ring changes to get into the right gear the cassette wouldn't be much of an issue. If I didn't intend to ride trails this winter and would be content just locking out the fork for paved riding, then the aluminum lower section of that fork would be fine too, but I'd still take issues with the lack of return damping. So tacking on another $250 in component upgrades brings the Overdrive Expert's sale price $10 more than the Airborne Guardian.
    The Overdrive seems to be more on par with the Airborne Sabre, which sells for $300...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luclin999 View Post
    Today only until midnight the Overdrive Expert comes out to $360 + shipping from Nashbar with coupon code: 34844

    Nashbar - Mountain Bikes
    Saw that, thanks!. Options are the Guardian with stock XC28 ($675) or Overdirve Expert with upgrade to XC32 and BB7's ($670). Is the difference between the XC28 and 32 noticeable?

  15. #15
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    The thicker stanchions with the 32 will be less prone to flexing when under torsion stresses.

    Ultimately it comes down to whether you want to buy a higher priced bike already built with specific components from the manufacturer or purchase a lower priced bike and then add the components that you personally want to it over time.

    And note, that if you take your time shopping for upgrades you can possibly shave a few dollars off of that "$250" upgrade estimate.

    For example, I just scored a new Rockshox Tora 29er fork for my Overdrive a couple of weeks ago from Jenson USA for $99 shipped.

    Also note for what it's worth, I've been using my stock brakes and shifters on my Overdrive and they have been working quite well. It also shifts very cleanly with the stock drive train components. Mind you I will also probably upgrade some more of the stock parts over time however for now it rides very nicely with just the fork upgrade.
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  16. #16
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    Agreed, the $250 estimate was not thoroughly sourced, it was pulled from last week's notes. At that time I was considering buying a discounted Giant Revel 1 and upgrading the RD (X5 @$40), cassette (PC951 @$19), chain (HG50 @$26), shifter (X5 @$33), and fork (RS XC28TK @$130) to the Revel 0 specs.
    Factor in upgrading the mech.brakes to hydraulics at $90 each for front and rear, then you've exceeded the 250 estimate by a margin that would be hard to reach with bargain hunting. Maybe in selling some of the upgraded parts on ebay to get it back in range..
    Guess my point would be that the DB Overdrive isn't a bad bike by any stretch.. But, it being cheaper than the Guardian by no means makes it a better value. If you are willing to start off at a lower level of components, then the Overdrive works. Someone new to mountain bikes would be fine learning the ropes on lower tier equipment.
    For anyone already familiar with how they ride and set on having at least mid tier components, the Guardian is the better value. If you intend to immediately upgrade parts, why not just buy the bike with those items? Not too many people are fond of paying for something twice: With the cheaper bike, you pay shipping and taxes to have the parts you don't want shipped with the bike, then pay for the new parts, plus shipping and taxes on those... then sell the unwanted parts on ebay for less than what they were worth new, not sure you could find any buyers for a used Suntour XC fork unless it was under $50 shipped. I can't see where the cheaper option equates to a better value.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by G0at View Post
    Agreed, the $250 estimate was not thoroughly sourced, it was pulled from last week's notes. At that time I was considering buying a discounted Giant Revel 1 and upgrading the RD (X5 @$40), cassette (PC951 @$19), chain (HG50 @$26), shifter (X5 @$33), and fork (RS XC28TK @$130) to the Revel 0 specs.

    Factor in upgrading the mech.brakes to hydraulics at $90 each for front and rear, then you've exceeded the 250 estimate by a margin that would be hard to reach with bargain hunting. Maybe in selling some of the upgraded parts on ebay to get it back in range..

    Guess my point would be that the DB Overdrive isn't a bad bike by any stretch.. But, it being cheaper than the Guardian by no means makes it a better value. If you are willing to start off at a lower level of components, then the Overdrive works. Someone new to mountain bikes would be fine learning the ropes on lower tier equipment.

    For anyone already familiar with how they ride and set on having at least mid tier components, the Guardian is the better value. If you intend to immediately upgrade parts, why not just buy the bike with those items? Not too many people are fond of paying for something twice: With the cheaper bike, you pay shipping and taxes to have the parts you don't want shipped with the bike, then pay for the new parts, plus shipping and taxes on those... then sell the unwanted parts on ebay for less than what they were worth new, not sure you could find any buyers for a used Suntour XC fork unless it was under $50 shipped. I can't see where the cheaper option equates to a better value.
    My Overdrive cost $400 at the store ($360 after factoring in the Performance member store credit rebate).

    I have since spent $99 on a new fork (Rockshox Tora), $40 on Shimano LX Front and Rear Derailleurs, $24 on LX shifters/brake levers and $20 on a 9-speed cassette which will sit up on the shelf until I feel the desire/need to upgrade the existing components on the bike.

    That's basically $584 (or $544 depending on how you look at it) for a 29er that will (someday, probably) end up with a better fork and drive train components over the Guardian for less money.

    As to the brakes, mechanical vs. hydraulic disc is more of a personal choice rather than a mandatory upgrade. For me, I am extremely happy with the Hayes mechanical brakes which come stock on the bike and have no interest in "upgrading" them at all.

    However, those were *my* personal choices. What the OP decides to do will ultimately be based upon his preferences.

    (Oh, and based upon completed listings on Ebay, those Suntour forks are selling for about $50+shipping so that's potentially another $40 back after Paypal/Ebay fees if I choose to sell it).
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  18. #18
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    I'll agree with you completely
    1) The value here revolves around personal preference, where it swings one way or the other based mostly on the brake preference
    2) We assume the buyer has already bought the tool to change the rear cassette and that won't add to the cost of the upgrades
    3) Buyer is comfortable in reselling items and piecing together the components

    Your preferences clearly make the Overdrive a sound decision. My value remains with the Guardian.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by G0at View Post
    I'll agree with you completely
    1) The value here revolves around personal preference, where it swings one way or the other based mostly on the brake preference
    2) We assume the buyer has already bought the tool to change the rear cassette and that won't add to the cost of the upgrades
    3) Buyer is comfortable in reselling items and piecing together the components

    Your preferences clearly make the Overdrive a sound decision. My value remains with the Guardian.
    Exactly, depending on whether the OP wants a bike ready for intermediate use out of the box or one designed for beginner trails and plans to upgrade it as he goes is really the crux of it.

    My only other caveat about the Airborne is that it is impossible to try one out for size, and overall feel of the bike locally (unless you have a friend that owns one) versus the Diamondback, a version of which can usually be found in many local stores.
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  20. #20
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    At that price point I would shop used for the best value.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiway View Post
    At that price point I would shop used for the best value.
    People on this forum always say this and yet the reality often is...

    ~ This requires the buyer to either know a fair amount about bike maintenance/repairs and bike values in general (or have someone who does that is willing to come along and check out every potential purchase) in order to be certain that the buyer isn't simply throwing his money away on a used money pit.

    ~ You are entirely dependent upon there *actually* being decent used bikes for sale in your area. I have been following the CL ads here in Houston for over two months and can count on one hand the number of bikes priced under $500 that looked as if they *might* be a decent value for the money.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luclin999 View Post
    People on this forum always say this and yet the reality often is...

    ~ This requires the buyer to either know a fair amount about bike maintenance/repairs and bike values in general (or have someone who does that is willing to come along and check out every potential purchase) in order to be certain that the buyer isn't simply throwing his money away on a used money pit.

    ~ You are entirely dependent upon there *actually* being decent used bikes for sale in your area. I have been following the CL ads here in Houston for over two months and can count on one hand the number of bikes priced under $500 that looked as if they *might* be a decent value for the money.

    Given the person already has a bike I assumed they know a little bit and some parts could be used off the old bike etc.

    I see quite a few decent values for 700 bucks in the DFW area on CL.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiway View Post

    I see quite a few decent values for 700 bucks in the DFW area on CL.
    You are lucky then.

    Around here there has really been almost nothing worth considering in a used MTB for months and the few promising listings seem to end up sold almost immediately after they were posted.
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  24. #24
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    Yeah they do go fast. I guess I don't consider myself the most experienced mechanic, but I take my time and find it fun to research good value parts to upgrade a good CL find.

  25. #25
    tl1
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    What's a Guardian? Is that a bike brand?

  26. #26
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    OP lives near richmond VA, checked out the craigslist 29er offerings near there, not looking too good IMO. Just one listed, frame geometry looks like a DJ setup with the seatstays being nearly inline with the toptube, doesn't list what size frame, asking $350... sketchy at best...British (Dawes) used 29er

    For that money, you'd certainly be better off with the Overdrive, lol.

  27. #27
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    Airborne Bicycles. Guardian
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Is there a better &lt;0 29er than the Guardian?-guardian.jpg  


  28. #28
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    I am in Roanoke. I have been checking CL for months. There isn't much of a used market here.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by comphynum View Post
    I am in Roanoke. I have been checking CL for months. There isn't much of a used market here.
    Found in 5 seconds of searching Dallas CL:

    Gary Fisher X-Cal 29er Mountain Bike

  30. #30
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    And this:

    2011 Specialized 29er Carve Expert which is close in price. Remember bargaining and bartering go a long way.

  31. #31
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    Go with the diamondback, outstanding bike, you'll love it and it looks much better. Try and find the overdrive comp at LBS, they may give you a deal on 2012 because the 2013's are out.

  32. #32
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    Not sure the Dallas CL does me any good when I am 1100 miles away but thanks

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    Yeah I was pointing out earlier that while Dallas may have some decent used bikes for sale other areas of the country are not necessarily as lucky.

    And of course no guarantee that a person could be talked down from $900-1000 to under $700 either.

    There was one ad here in Houston a few weeks ago for a two year old stock Motobecane 600HT (which sells new for about $450 from Bike's Direct) asking $400 for the bike.

    I emailed him about the price to see if he would take any less for it and his answer was basically "If you don't like the price then you don't have to buy it".

    (and the bike still keeps popping back up on CL week after week for the same price)

    Sadly, that is the type of seller we have a lot of here in Houston. Either they have a fairly new bike (1-3 years old) and want 80% (or more) of the original MSRP for it or else the bikes are from the 1990's and look to have been ridden hard.
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  34. #34
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    I saw alot of the same in the Chicago market when I considered a used rig a few weeks ago... either ancient / vintage bikes, or asking price was too close to original retail value. There were a few deals on FS bikes, but even those were way outside the budget. Half price on a carbon framed bike is still 50% more than what I'm ready to spend right now.

    How soon are you wanting to buy your bike, comphynum?

  35. #35
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    Go Airborne... you won't regret it.


  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiway View Post
    Found in 5 seconds of searching Dallas CL:

    Gary Fisher X-Cal 29er Mountain Bike
    Great looking Gary Fisher! Greetings from Dallas, Tx. Your not to far away over in Grapevine

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by comphynum View Post
    My budget is around $700. I have been riding a 2002 Gary Fisher Mamba.

    I think I have narrowed it down to two options.

    1. The Guardian at $675. Hope the XC28 fork (I weight 210 lbs.) and Tektro hydros are adequate and upgrade as things break.

    or

    2. Get the Diamondback Overdrive at $475 and replace the fork with a Rockshox XC32 TK and be all in for around $650. And, then after a while upgrade the mechanical brake to BB7's.

    Thoughts?
    I would say go with the Guardian as your first choice and do the Diamondback as a fall back. Spending weeks looking at all the LBS in Northern Ky/Cincinnati area for a 29er. I have not found anything close to the value and quality of components as the Guardian after doing research. I think the Haro Flightline comes close but I know my lbs would want extra $ to order one in. "Carry the brand but not stock it"

    Like you, I do the "buy this maybe upgrade that" or buy decent, one day break it and upgrade. I think it comes down to how often you upgraded your Mamba. What type of rider you are and how hard you ride. I would use that as your base line for your future purchase.

    I weigh 260 pounds and understand your concerns with the fork, brake. IMO I think your weight is not going to be really a factor in this. Using your Mamba as a baseline. What types of upgrades to the brake and fork? If running stock or at one time you ran stock then what your getting is light years in the future and without a doubt will be able to handle your weight. So no concerns.

    I wish you the best of luck, your question has plagued almost all of us at one time or another. Personally Im still debating the jump to 29er. I bought a rockhopper 29 and returned it 2 days later. Just cant pull the trigger just yet. I know Giant Revel 29er is coming out so might just hang tight.

  38. #38
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    I saw the specs on the new 29er, too. 2013 Revel 0 29er for $700, but it has that crappy fork and just mechanical brakes. Seems to fall short of the Guardian's hydraulic brakes and better fork.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThunderRage View Post
    I would say go with the Guardian as your first choice and do the Diamondback as a fall back. Spending weeks looking at all the LBS in Northern Ky/Cincinnati area for a 29er. I have not found anything close to the value and quality of components as the Guardian after doing research. I think the Haro Flightline comes close but I know my lbs would want extra $ to order one in. "Carry the brand but not stock it"

    Like you, I do the "buy this maybe upgrade that" or buy decent, one day break it and upgrade. I think it comes down to how often you upgraded your Mamba. What type of rider you are and how hard you ride. I would use that as your base line for your future purchase.

    I weigh 260 pounds and understand your concerns with the fork, brake. IMO I think your weight is not going to be really a factor in this. Using your Mamba as a baseline. What types of upgrades to the brake and fork? If running stock or at one time you ran stock then what your getting is light years in the future and without a doubt will be able to handle your weight. So no concerns.

    I wish you the best of luck, your question has plagued almost all of us at one time or another. Personally Im still debating the jump to 29er. I bought a rockhopper 29 and returned it 2 days later. Just cant pull the trigger just yet. I know Giant Revel 29er is coming out so might just hang tight.

    Thanks! I think I am going to with the Guardian. ride it hard and not worry about having to upgrade until things brake. Maybe a stiffer spring for the fork but that's about it.

  40. #40
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    my story is that I sold my guardian to my friend when I saw a '12 trek cobia pop up on craigslist figuring hey the cobia is a better bike- I'll just sell my guardian for $550 to a friend and it'll be win-win, right? Well, after riding both side by side I honestly can't tell the difference at all even being a clydesdale with its 80mm fork. I'm at the point where I've spent $650 on the cobia plus a $70 tune just to get it feeling as good as the guardian. If I could do it all again- I would have just kept the guardian and called it a day. I think this just speaks a lot to Airbornes quality that it can match a $1200 bike of a major manufacturer. Sure, its an air fork on the Cobia- but to the average rider you won't notice any difference, I surely don't.

  41. #41
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    ~ 2014 Breezer Lightning Team '29
    ~ 2012 GT Sensor Expert 9r
    ~ 2017 Diamondback Overdrive Carbon Comp

  42. #42
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    Haven't seen much on the boards about Breezer. Anyone have this bike?

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luclin999 View Post
    One last option to consider..

    [nashbarcom/bikes/Product_10053_10052_546012_-1___202341]Breezer Jetstream Sport 29" Mountain Bike - Mountain Bikes[]
    LoL just when he was going to pull the trigger on the Guardian. Still it's a worthy option to consider. I have bought 6 bikes total past 7 years and I still get anxiety Attacks trying to pick one. I do miss the 1980's. Back then my Huffy was my road bike mountain bike cruser. Only upgrade was front pegs on fork because I seen a kid with a mongoose with them. <--- Moral of that story is "I Envisioned doing all these tricks and stunts but the truth is I was still just a fat kid riding a huffy with front pegs."

  44. #44
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    dunno much about breezer and their geos but I'd say the guardian is still a better value.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by justinope View Post
    dunno much about breezer and their geos but I'd say the guardian is still a better value.
    Did you actually compare specs? The Breezer on paper is about the best <$700 deal going right now. If it fits, that would be at the top of my list.
    Last edited by Glide the Clyde; 08-18-2012 at 09:27 PM.
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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malibu412 View Post
    Did you actually compare specs? The Breezer on paper is about the best >$700 deal going right now. If it fits, that would be at the top of my list.
    oh snap, I definitely missed a few things but I was mainly stating them as a company. Their website is seriously lacking and to me that just speaks to their professionalism. I mean really- no geos or any info at all on their site? even if it is a archive model thats pretty poor. just my opinion.

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