Buying a new bike- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Buying a new bike

    New to the forum - lots of good information here.

    I've owned two bikes of the last 15 years or so (Klein mtb and a Bianchi Axis) - neither felt very good and there was always some sort of compromise that I just dealt with. I want to start off with a clean sheet and get into a solid bike that fits me well. It's going to be a do-it-all bike for now, with more work on the pavement to start off. I'm a large rider - 6'3", but in pretty good shape (have abs at 265lbs). My goal is to lower my bodyweight some as I'm 40 now, and dont want to carry this much weight anymore. My "best shape" weight will probably be in the 230-240 range.

    I want a solid frame and fork to work off of and have realized its worth it to me to spend a little more as buying a lot of these components later will cost me lots more individually. I've ridden several bikes and the two that stand out so far are the Specialized Rockhopper Comp (26" wheels) and the Stumpjumper Comp 29er. The Rockhopper is a very, very comfortable geometry for me. The Stumpjumper seemed almost identical, but a tad more agressive. There was a huge difference in the weight and ridability of the bikes - the Stumpjumper was way more flickable and accelerated a lot faster, plus the 29" wheels would seem to be a real benefit for the commuter side of the bike The Rockhopper was $740 and the Stump $1650. I'm going to go test ride the Giant XTC 1 29er tomorrow and see how that rides, but I really dont know if I want to spend 2K.

    Any other suggestions? I thought about the Kona Hoss, but nobody has those to test ride - REI has them on sale in the $900 range. I keep gravitating back to the Specialized bikes as I've never had a bicycle fit me like that before.

    Thanks for any responses.

    Morgan

  2. #2
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    The Rockhopper comp appears to come with the Dart 3 fork. IMO you weigh too much for it. I know.... I killed a similar level fork (RST Omni 191) and I'm 6'3" and 230lbs.

    You haven't told us much about what type of riding you want to do, but you mentioned commuting. Other than that I figure mostly XC riding? The dart 3 could last, but as your riding progresses you may want to do more technical stuff and you'll probably wish you spent the money.

    You said you wanted to start with a solid frame and fork. That statement immediately makes me think you should step up to the Stumpy. Better everything on that bike. Reba Fork, X-9 & X-7 components, Elixr hydro brakes instead of BB5's (don't underestimate the importance of brakes at our size). It's just a MUCH better bike to start with. If you stick with riding and start hitting up the trails I think you'll be glad you went with the stumpy over the hardrock. It's not to say the hardrock is a "bad" bike. My friend has one and gets along just fine on it. But, at our size, forks and other components have to considered more carefully.

    At 6'3" I'd lean towards a 29er, but you can also get the Stumpy in the 26" version if you feel it fits you better for whatever reason.

    PS - I have a 26" and a 29" bike and love them both! I just ride them for different reasons.

    For more info for guys our size, try the Clydesdale Forum!
    Last edited by cobi; 11-25-2009 at 10:16 AM.

  3. #3
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    You've nailed down your own question. Get a Specialized, it fits, end of story. A matter of which one though. I would say get the Stumpy. As was said, the better components will last longer and work better while they do. The Reba will be able to adjust to your weight easily and the Hydro brakes rock the shack.

    And exactly as cobi said "At 6'3" I'd lean towards a 29er, but you can also get the Stumpy in the 26" version". Couldn't have said it better myself.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the input. I sweetened the pot a bit today and went out and test rode a 2010 Giant XTC 1 29er - I'd put the fit on par with the stumpjumper. Its $350 bucks more, but it's spec'd out a tad better (fox shock, etc). For shits and giggles I test rode a 2009 Giant Anthem X2 demo bike that was $600 off retail price, just a few hundred more than the XTC - another sweet riding bike that fit me well, I'm just not sure that a full suspension bike is the best choice for a one bike guy right now. Any thoughts?

  5. #5
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    Because most of my riding will be on the pavement (and I thought the bike looked cool), I test rode a Giant Seek 1 - fit me well and a rocket of a bike around town. Felt like there wasnt a cop in town that would have caught me on that sucker. The $1000 price tag and not having derailleurs to adjust was nice too. Probably wouldn't work too well in the dirt though.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mg6682
    Thanks for the input. I sweetened the pot a bit today and went out and test rode a 2010 Giant XTC 1 29er - I'd put the fit on par with the stumpjumper. Its $350 bucks more, but it's spec'd out a tad better (fox shock, etc).
    Looks like a nice bike, But now you're talking $2100 + tax for a hardtail. Me personally, I couldn't bring myself to spend over 2K on a hardtail. I think I could find a FS 29er for that I'd be happy with for around that price.

    Quote Originally Posted by mg6682
    I'm just not sure that a full suspension bike is the best choice for a one bike guy right now. Any thoughts?
    If I could only have 1 bike, it would absolutely be a FS 29er. But I know exactly how and what I like to ride. You are just going through the process of figuring out what kinda of stuff you are intersted in. Maybe you'll be 80%/20% commuting versus trail? I can't answer that for you, its a process. I will say that the stuff I THOUGHT I wanted to ride and what I DO ride 6 months later are a world different. This spring if you told me I'd own a 6.5" travel FS AM bike..... and a rigid 29er I'd have laughed at you.

    Would you consider used, or is LBS support/warranty a must for you?
    Check this bike out!
    http://classifieds.mtbr.com/showprod...t=41977&cat=38

    Hell, if I could get $2000 for my 26" bike I'd probably buy it! Maybe my wife wouldn't notice the dif? Evil thoughts running through my head

    I wouldn't worry about the brand of bike right now. I would make my decisions in roughly this order:

    1. Budget (how much do you REALLY want to spend, you seem to be talking <$800 on one bike and then around $2500 on the Anthem). Your budget will likely dictate the level of your components.
    2. Hard tail or full suspension
    3. 26 or 29er (seems you're leaning towards 29 which I think you'll be happy with)
    4. Once you know those three things only then would I bother worrying about which manufacturer. Reason being not all manufacturers are going to have a bike that meets the first 3 criteria.

    Buying your first real bike is tough. A lot of second guessing.
    Last edited by cobi; 11-25-2009 at 10:44 PM.

  7. #7
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    Thanks Cobi, I really appreciate the input. That FSR Expert seems like a freakin' sweet deal - if its still available after Christmas (cant spend that much until after the presents are bought) I'll send the guy a message.

    I have no qualms about being a novice cyclist, I just dont want to do what I've done in the past and buy something on compromise - I really want to get a bike I enjoy riding. The problem, as you hinted to, is there is always compromise with a bike - you'll always find faults. I should probably should just buy a lower end, but decent quality bike, and just ride the damn thing. Upgrading will give me the opportunity to learn how to work on these bikes and really figure out what I want and what works for me. I really started off this project with that thinking and have gravitated towards more expensive bikes due to the fact that I'll pay twice the amount to upgrade later. After thinking about this some, heres where I'm at on choices:

    1 - Giant Anthem X-2 ($2200) - demo bike - most comfortable bike so far, just not sure if the full suspension is right for me - I actually prefer a bike like this on the road as dont mind working hard. Maintenance costs keep making me think this is a bad choice - How much is it going to cost me to maintain a bike like this with 3-4 road rides a week and 1-2 weekend dirt trips a month? Probably more so that I'm a heavy rider?

    2 - Specialized Stumpjumer Comp 29er & Giant XTC 1 29er - both are equal in comfort - Specialized gets the nod for being $1650 vs. $2000 for the Giant.

    Man, and I thought photography was expensive! Keep the tips coming, they're really helping.

    Morgan

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    I'm a small guy (in case the name Slim didn't clue you in) and haven't had much success in buying into the 29er hype but the guys I ride with who happen to fit in your size range seem to swear by them.

    Just be forewarned, the sensation of the bigger hopes may take a little getting used to if you've come up on 26ers. The additional rotating mass takes a bit more push to get rolling and the steering may be a bit slower than you're used to but again it seems like all the bigger guys I talk to just love them.
    Ever been to Mountain Bike Tales Digital Magazine? Now if only the print rags would catch on!

  9. #9
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    If you're diligent about taking care of your bikes then there won't be a significant cost difference. A tune up at a shop is a tune up, and at most places, it doesn't matter what bike you bring in, it's going to cost the same to get the same work done. Far down the line, you may be looking at replacing the pivots, but it's not usually too painful of an expense.

    The FS will help you on the dirt, but that's about it. As you progress in your off road riding, you'll be able to appreciate the FS more. That being said, I still ride my single speed hardtail almost exclusively. But once I get the money, I'm buying a downhill bike. I would say get a bike, ride the piss out of it and figure out what you like to do. Your next bike will get you even closer to exactly what you want from a bike. It's a process, and it never hurts to start from a high point in the process if you have the money.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimTwisted
    I'm a small guy (in case the name Slim didn't clue you in) and haven't had much success in buying into the 29er hype but the guys I ride with who happen to fit in your size range seem to swear by them.

    Just be forewarned, the sensation of the bigger hopes may take a little getting used to if you've come up on 26ers. The additional rotating mass takes a bit more push to get rolling and the steering may be a bit slower than you're used to but again it seems like all the bigger guys I talk to just love them.
    I am 5'9" and I am diggin the bigger hoops.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mg6682
    I have no qualms about being a novice cyclist, I just dont want to do what I've done in the past and buy something on compromise - I really want to get a bike I enjoy riding.
    Yeah, I bought a super cheap hartail ($350) in the spring and within a few weeks I was hooked on riding and was looking at $2300 FS bikes. I recently sold it for $120 when I bought my 29er. Just wanted it out of the garage and I knew I'd never ride it again.

    Quote Originally Posted by mg6682
    I really started off this project with that thinking and have gravitated towards more expensive bikes due to the fact that I'll pay twice the amount to upgrade later.
    That's an easy trap to fall into. I don't think you'd necessarily do that with the hardrock (with the possible exception of the fork). But yes, upgrading after the fact will be more expensive in the long run.

    I'm sure you could be happy with a hardtail, I'm not saying it's FS or nothing. Especially since you seem interested in riding a lot on the road. I've been riding my 29er rigid to work since I bought it and it's wonderful for that (I never rode my FS bike to work once).

    Just don't be surprised if your trail riding progresses to a point down the road where you may start thinking FS.

    Honestly I think that specialized FSR is a pretty good deal and would be a good all-around bike that you could grow into (riding wise). But I also think you would be more than happy with the HT stumpy. It's got a good component set and would last you a long time.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for all the help, I think I'm going to go down and put some cash on the Stumpjumper 29 as its more than I need right now, but also leaves me a few hundred bones to get some additional accessories I should have.

    Morgan

  13. #13
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    I think you'll be happy with that. The upgraded shock and brakes alone are a big step in the right direction for a big guy. You can even lock out the front fork when you're riding pavement if you want.

    If you ever decide you want to go FS that bike should hold value pretty well and you could always sell it.

    A couple "clyde specific" suggestions. We tend to pinch flat our tires much easier than these little guys. There are a few ways to combat that: run higher air pressures, thorn resistant tubes or go with a tubeless conversion. I found running anything under 35lbs was a recipe for pinch flats with my riding. I ran thorn resistant tubes combined with like 40-45 in the rear and 35 in the front. It worked better, but I just switched to tubeless like a week ago and hope to have less issues going forward.

    The rims & tires on the stumpy are "tubeless ready". You'd just need a rim strip kit and sealant if you decide to go for it. Wouldn't be something you need to do right away but if you start running into a lot of flats, consider it. I spent a lot of $ on tubes this summer! Might be less of an issue for you as you seem to plan to stay on the roads a lot more.

    Good luck, post some pictures and ride the heck out of it!

  14. #14
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    I went and did two more test rides tonight - a second ride (longer one) on the Giant XTC 1 29er and a ride on a Giant Trance XTC 2. The 29er is definately the best ride of the hardtails I've ridden, but man, when I jumped on that Trance I knew I had to have it within the first minute of the ride - plush, but accelerated great, especially when I adjusted the rear shock to its stiffest setting. I liked it so much I put $500 down to hold it until after the holidays. Gonna be a long wait!

    Thanks to those who chimed in with input - helped a bunch

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