and I want a nice 26er hardtail, for about $1000- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    and I want a nice 26er hardtail, for about $1000

    I've outgrown my old 26er and pending a test ride on my buddies 29er, I think I will like to put my money towards a nicer 26er. I've read a lot about the differences in the 26er and 29er, and in the end, it looks like the 26er will fit my style better (I like accelerating randomly and quickly, flickiness in switchbacks and turns, any jump/ledge opportunities, and I love standing up, a lot)

    It could turn out I love my buddies 29er and I'll go that route, in which I know there's no lack of threads pointing to good budget 29ers.

    In the case that I do want to stay 26er for a little longer, can I get a nicer rig for the same price as a 29er? What I'd like to see in my future bike is
    -a nice fork
    -nice drivetrain, something quick and smooth shifting.
    -an aggressive/responsive frame, light would be nice
    -quality and reliability

    so, what're the options?

    PS if I can squeak this question in - do 29ers feel more 'granny' than their smaller brother? I have a fear that I'll be shifting to comfort mode or get a 'calmer' bike with the 29er route, but I'm going to test my friends either way. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I have a Stumpjumper Comp 29r and I like it a lot and I find it works great in all the areas you think a 26r is better for. Whatever way you decide to go right now is when the 2012 models are coming out and you can likely find a 2011 on closeout and at a good price. For the same MSRP most manufacturers bikes are pretty similar so your probably better off finding one that fits properly and responds the way you like rather than choose one over component differences.

  3. #3
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    Would help to know what your old bike was...

    Also, looking new or used? For ~$1000 you can get a new Kona Blast or Cinder Cone. I have a Blast, comes with a decent fork, quick drivetrain and the frame is very light.

    As far as reliability, the components are really what determines reliability. I found the Konas were better equipped for the money than some of the big brands like Giant or Trek, at least for the 2011 year.

  4. #4
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    i like the specialized rock hopper comp pro, idr how much that is tho lol

  5. #5
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    I wouldn't say a 29er is a 'granny' bike. My 29er may smooth the trail a bit, but it takes way more skill to be able to fling it around switchbacks, and whatnot. The new AM style 29er's would give you the best of both worlds. They combine big wheels with a greater ability to be thrown around. Quality 26er ht's can still be found, but you may find that $1000 may be limiting. I think it'd be hard to hit all your points for a 26er, or a 29er in that price range.

  6. #6
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    Hrmmm found a Fuji tahoe 4.0 26 er for $775, here's the big components, star means I think this component is questionable

    Deore shifters, RD, alivio crankset and FD
    tektro draco hydraulic brakes ,shifters * (bottom line?)
    rockshox dart 2 with remote lockout *(heavy)
    alex rims dn17

    I rode it and it did alright, but id really like to avoid buying a bike that I feel ill outgrow / need to upgrade quickly. I need to ride my buddies 29er...

  7. #7
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    Here she is

    Last edited by enerj; 09-26-2011 at 09:32 AM.

  8. #8
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    Buy a frame and build your own. I sorta did the same thing (bought a gt avalanche 3.0 for cheap) and pretty much changed all the components on it. $1100 later I have a bike with everything I wanted on it.

  9. #9
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    this is my current ride, 2008 kona fire mountain

    and I like it, although my front fork is probably dying and my hands are killing from that. I ride moderate to rough trails and I like beating them up, no mercy. I could see it working well with $300 in upgrades but honestly I just want something new that will do what I ask.

    I've been reading more reviews and I think it will be tough to get a ride that has everything I want for $1k. I think a nice front fork and a reliable rig would be my top choice. I will check out some more LBSes soon and let you guys know what I find.

  10. #10
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    I don't know if they still make a rigid 26er, but this may be a better way to go. You'd get a better bike for your money because you wouldn't be dropping coin on a throw away fork. Then you could save up a little bit for a better quality, slightly used fork.

    Or... if you have the means, save up another $500, and get a better bike. $1500 will buy you a lot of bike.

  11. #11
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    Also, look for closeouts. And ask you lbs if they can score you a demo bike. Often, demo bikes become available for sale this time of year, and can be had for cheap.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by enerj View Post
    I've been reading more reviews and I think it will be tough to get a ride that has everything I want for $1k. I think a nice front fork and a reliable rig would be my top choice.
    I'm telling you, what you want is a (Cinder Cone). Big step up from your Fire Mountain performance wise, and the price you're talking.

  13. #13
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    Cinder cone looks pretty good spec wise, I went to a Kona dealer today but they didn't have that and the guy was taking forever so I just left. It's also because I went to REI and saw a Cannondale SL3 for $700 which seems like a pretty good deal, SRAM X5 all around with Tektro Draco (I think they'll work for the time being) and an RST Deuce on the front, which gets ok reviews.

    The SL3 was $700 for the old model which is also a nice point. What do you guys think about this bike? I'm going to look around for one in my size, but I liked it.

  14. #14
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    For a grand I think you can do better than that fuji

  15. #15
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    I think you're right! But I don't know the market very well, can you guys spit out some good models other than the cinder cone? I've refined my criteria to ideally include light quality frame and decent forks, or is this to much to ask of a ~$1000 bike?

  16. #16
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    Well this is probably a strange suggestion, but it is more of what I would be looking for if I were buying a hardtail 26er right now:

    KONAWORLD

    A little more expensive though it might be on sale if you can find one, certainly not light but it will be very playful and more than happy to do a bit of jumping and throwing around.

    You're buying a new bike, what don't you like about your current bike that you would change with a new one? A new bike is like a clean slate, you can totally adjust what type of bike you are riding. It's not like putting new parts on an old bike, here you have a chance to really dial in your bike to your riding style. Make sure you test ride any option you have. I second the option of buying a frame and putting parts on it. You could get something like a Transition TransAM or On One 456/Imbred (can you tell I like steel bikes?) and put together something that really reflects what you want out of a bike.

    In the end, I'd go to all the shops you can and test ride every bike you can get your hands on. If you can't find a bike you like then it's time to build something.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  17. #17
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    Whats a good way to test ride? I have no problem trying to get the bike to ride, but when Iím on it what to do? Itís usually in a parking lot with limited Ďtrail simulating obstaclesí =D

    Iíve been bouncing on the shocks (who knows how much that reveals) and shifting (which I can tune so long as the components are good enough) and the brakes (same as fork, maybe good in the parking lot, but what about on the trail)

    Should I just get a good idea for how I like the frame fit, geo, etc?

    Thanks for the help guys. Iíll be riding a friends 29er this afternoon and checking out a few stores tomorrow morning, so Iíll have some stuff to report back soon.

  18. #18
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    Well you mentioned you like your Fire Mountain. The Cinder Cone or Blast are going to have the same frame geometry, though they'll be lighter because they're plastiformed and the Fire Mountain's frame isn't. I have a 2011 Blast, I can tell you it's much lighter than the Fire Mountain, which I rode for sizing.

    As for components you're being a bit vague. What do you mean "decent forks"? We can't really recommend much going by that. The 2012 Blast has the new XC32 fork, which is really the updated Tora fork. The Cinder Cone has the Recon fork, which internally is the same but it's maybe a pound lighter. Both forks are likely more than decent enough for most riders out there, and are a nice step up from the Dart forks in both functionality and durability. But someone hucking off big jumps would want something different.

    You really need to tell us what your requirements are otherwise our recommendations aren't valid. Why have you outgrown your current bike? What kind of riding/trails do you do? Perhaps you don't need a new bike, maybe just a new fork instead and maybe a new rear derailleur?

    Also about the pricing. My bike cost me $850... but the Trek model with roughly the same equipment at the LBS cost almost $1100, for the exact same fork and brakes. But I can tell you that extra $100 got me a much better fork and much better brakes than the ones on that Fuji.

    As far as reliability, pretty much any bike is reliable if you take care of it.

  19. #19
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    you're right on sgt., I think i too am going about this without knowing enough and just saying "i want the best for my money", which isn't a bad thing but I can do better.

    The bike will only see trail riding, and about 3 times a week. I'm not great at if its XC or AM, but at a lot of the trails I ride there's some rocky technical sections, long rock gardens, always tons of roots.

    The reason I am hesitant to go 29er is because I like the nimble/quick feeling of my current bike, and getting better at cornering, switchbacks and acceleration, and I fear I'll give that up if I go 29er for a more 'comfortable' ride.

    that being said I don't know exactly what I'm looking for in a fork, or geometry for that matter. I know I want something light, and my current fork is pretty stiff (which is why I'm looking for a nwe ride, although i've contemplated changing it out for a new one, I'd like a new ride).

    I know its tough to pick something out for me but really I'm just looking for advice on what to look at and maybe different model ideas. Like I said I'll report back tomorrow after checking out some shops.

    PS- I found a 2010 stumpjumper thats pretty tastefully modded for amatuer race, fox float F90 RL, sram x0 9 speed RD, avid juicy brakes, light. Its somethign like this that makes me want to buy a ltitle nicer of a bike and get my skill level up to it.

    TLDR - I don't know what to look for but I want to improve and I'd like a bike that I can grow into.

  20. #20
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    you should at least ride a 29er

  21. #21
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    XC/Trail/ even most AM stuff, I think a 29er hardtail is the way to go. This is coming from someone who built a 26'' hardtail for this riding season. Is it fun, and nimble, and all those other things? Sure. It also gets stuck on every root and rock it finds. The extra roll of the 29'' wheel really takes some of the sting out of riding a hardtail.

    For a dirt jumper or a long travel hardtail, 26ers are good, but a sturdy AM 26er is going to cost more than $1000.

  22. #22
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  23. #23
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    id wait and check back at REI.

    i got this at the end of last year, on sale for $1100. and REI has a killer return/refund policy if you dont like something

    ps, it came with Shimano clipless pedals, but i dont like clipless


  24. #24
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    any suggestions for someone that could spend around 1.5 to 2k/

  25. #25
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    sorry to leave this thread hanging. I ended up riding my buddies 29er and im switching teams.

    I flip flopped between an SL 2 from cannondale and ended up (hopefully) going with a 1 month old 2011 Giant XTC 29er 2. I'll let you know how it goes!

    I'll still keep my Kona around for a bit, for how long depends on how good the 29er boat is =D

    thanks for all the help, especially those who wrote me nice long PMs!

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