Older High End vs Newer Lower End- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Older High End vs Newer Lower End

    Hey guys, I am new to mountain bikes and am looking for some advice on my first bike. I am not new to biking though, I have riden BMX bike for 5-6 years and my largest cleared gap was 15 feet.

    I am wanting to do a bit of light DH but will probably stick more to XC. I will also be using the bike for commuting so I am thinking about sticking with hardtails.

    I am looking at two used bikes right now. One is pretty old but from what I can tell has the better higher-end parts. The other is newer with some parts I have heard are not the greatest. Both are the same price and I'm unsure which would be better. Both sellers say they have used them very little and lightly (of course they would say that). So if they are both in equal condition which would be the way to go??

    Both are $500 within Canada with our crazy Canadian prices:
    2009 Kona Five-o: Specs
    2005 Norco Rampage: specs

    The Kona has Marzocchi 55 RS, 140mm travel
    The Norco has Marzocchi Z-1 FR3 , 150mm travel

    Am I correct to think the Z-1 FR3 is a better fork? The Z-1 FR3 uses a coil and air, the 55 RS is coil but I'm not sure if it also uses air. Since I will be commuting a lot it would be nice to be able to easily adjust the fork by adding or removing air. Is the 55 RS also easy to adjust? Would a pure coil fork be easier to maintain and more reliable?

    Also, one bike is an hour drive away in another city so I can't easily take a look at both of them.

  2. #2
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    As long as the older bike is in good shape, I would go for it. Riding a mt. bike on the street isn't very fun, especially if you have knobby tires.

  3. #3
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    Well in my situation I can only get one bike.

    I would rather suffer on the streets if it means having more fun on the trails.

  4. #4
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    I thought the Rampage was rather DH oriented and quite heavy if you want it as a multi use hardtail. I looked at buying one some time ago but ended up buying a Giant STP, the STP was more DJ oriented and lighter but still not really ideal for XC riding. After the STP I ended up getting a proper DH bike (orange 222) however in the end I sold both as DH wasn't really for me, and neither bike was suitable for more XC / AM / commute style riding.

    Specs wise I'd pick the one with the best fork and wheels I guess, the rest isn't that crucial (apart from frame of course)

    Considering you mainly want to do some DH and XC I'd go for the Norco, since the FiveO seems more DJ / mtnX oriented, even though the Norco is an older bike.

  5. #5
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    Z1 is a nice fork, but you have to weigh over 70kg for it to work properly.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dropadrop View Post
    Z1 is a nice fork, but you have to weigh over 70kg for it to work properly.
    If only I had that problem to worry about, lol.

    I am 5'8" 230lbs (104kg)

    How can I find what size of frame would be good for me??

    I found a 2009 Kona Five-o Deluxe for $650 that is a 16" frame. From my understanding, 18" is medium size.

    Now I have heard that the 55RS can be a pretty soft fork and it is a coil fork with no air valve. The Five-o Deluxe has the 55R which uses air. So given my weight, do you think the Deluxe with the 55R would be better since I can easily add in some more air to stiffen up the forks.

    I would like to get the Five-o Deluxe since every part is higher-end but am a little worried about the 16" frame being too small.

  7. #7
    wuss
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    Start checking for sizing from the manufacturers charts and discussion forums (there should be existing threads). After that you'd really need to test the bike, but I'd think you are usually a M or L depending on the model.

    Air forks can be easier to set the spring rate on and lighter. Coil will feel better and is more "set and forget", but can require buying a suiting spring.

  8. #8
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    Given my weight (230lbs) I assume I would have to get a new spring for the 55RS as other people around (160lbs) have complained of the forks being too soft. Any idea what this would cost? I read one guy say a new spring is around $70 not including install. If that is the case I may be better off getting the 55R.

    Kona recommends a 16" frame for those between 5'0" and 5'7".
    I am 5'8" and in between the recommend height for a 17" frame ( 5'4" - 5'10")

    How much of a difference do you think this will make? Is it better to have it too small than too big? I will be checking it out on Monday but would like to get all the advice I can before then. Store location is right downtown so very little areas I can take it for a test ride.

    I also don't really know what feels right. I am coming from BMX biking, so anything I jump on is going to feel tons bigger.

    EDIT: Thanks for the help guys. I ended up getting a 2009 Kona Five-o Deluxe (16").
    Last edited by danpluso; 09-04-2012 at 08:03 PM.

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